My heart began to sing. Is this a glimpse into the future? Is all of that training truly paying off? No matter where they live or who they become, they will always need the all important skills of cooperation and kindness. I was so glad that they were practicing. It wasn't too long before the utopia of the situation melted into squabbles and the baby began protesting about being the play-dolly. It did however, make me stop and think about the value of "play". Children love to play!
One thing that I started recently (Peter's mom does this often when the kids visit her house.) is giving them special play that we do just every once in a while. The favorite is "water play". We fill up several large bowls, buckets, or containers with water and then I give them smaller containers, funnels, basters, spoons, etc. Because I am not excited about cleaning up the mess, I send them outside on the picnic table. The younger ones will play for hours! One variation of this is texture play. Here we fill containers with different textures such as flour, cornmeal, dried beans, etc. It is just so different from anything else that they are excited and entertained. Another modern favorite is shaving cream. I just squirt a little shaving cream on the table and they smear it around like finger paints and draw pictures in the cream. This is also a great way for us to practice writing letters or words without them knowing that we are reviewing school:) When they are done it is only a quick wipe down and they all smell great!