Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Making Stuff With the Kids: It's Not Always About Technology

With all the hi-tech electronic gadgets and the all-consuming iPad, I am gratified that our children are still excited about making the modern-day version of the tin can telephone.  They could be playing on our iPhone and texting back and forth, but instead they are downstairs with their daddy stringing some communication devices together with thread and paper cups.  I love it!  And how do you like this bouquet of construction paper flowers we made yesterday?

My hubby is the crafty parent in the family.  Yesterday he and our eldest daughter made paper chain Chinese New Year decorations; then he and the two kids made "love guns" with Lego, the only kind this mommy will have in the house.  I'm sure they are real guns when I am out of hearing distance, but I get sprayed with bullets of love whenever I enter the room!

Charlotte also made a wand using a pencil, construction paper and a glue stick.  This gave our daughters hours of enchantment.  They were also inspired by recent forays in the movie and book worlds to craft their own "light savers" and Nimbus 2000 broomsticks out of Christmas gift wrap tubes.  It's fun to watch Star Wars and Harry Potter merge into their version of fantasy play.  (Light sabers trump broomsticks.)

At brunch on Sunday, Don taught the girls how to make cartoon figures on the paper tablecloth with chunky crayons, and we followed it up with  a rousing game of Xs and Os. We haven't given in to arming our daughters with iPhones on our dinner outings just yet.  So long as there are tablecloths and crayons, we'll be okay.  Last year, Charlotte made herself an XBox out of a tissue box and happily carried it out with her to restaurants so she could feel like part of the in-crowd.  She wasn't disturbed in the least that hers didn't take batteries.  She's outgrown her XBox, but the girls occasionally bring their knitting needles along when we go out so they can work on their never-ending scarf projects.

No doubt, they will be clamoring to playing "Dragon Vale" on the iPad sometime in the next few hours, but so long as we keep that down to 15 minutes segments we're hoping our kids can continue to embrace their imaginary play with their taped-together weapons and Sharpie microphones and tin can phones.

We're not perfect parents and they're not perfect kids; the apps and the computer will always have their attraction (for all of us), but it's gratifying to see kids having fun without having to resort to electronic entertainment every minute of every day.

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