“We are looking for the treasure the fairies left for us!” explains an enthusiastic boy from under a bush while his playmate carefully opens her fist to show me the bright, colorful treasure of marbles they’ve discovered behind the library. The library won’t open for another hour and since I have time to kill and a three year old to entertain I venture back there, where we run into this little preschool class, enchanted with finding fairy treasures.
My three year old was hesitant to join the group of strangers at first, but soon my little guy’s curiosity won. While staying close to me, he looks for his own treasures. At the end of the hunt, he’s found three marbles of his own! As the treasure seekers return to their classroom, it was just me, my little guy and his three marbles left on this little patch of green. This is when I realized that I have been given a challenge- to entertain my three year old without a park or play structure, without games, toys, books or electronics, or other anything or anyone else.
Sometimes our park days, play dates, and story times become so routine and planned that there is little room for imagination or spontaneity. This morning I was forced reconnect with my own creativity. These three marbles conjured up a myriad of games. The marbles lent themselves to a game of marble soccer, bowling, hide and seek, carrom and a host of others! It wasn’t how many games I could think up that impressed me, but how well my three year old adapted to them and enjoyed them.Often, it is too easy to dismiss our little ones as the “baby” and never challenge them, only because we get so caught up in more pressing matters. This little bit of time reminded me of the beauty and simplicity of a toddler’s company. His enthusiasm and excitement with every little game and his readiness to try everything was refreshing!
The three marbles reminded me to reconnect with my baby, who sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of older siblings, school, and life in general. The marbles made me remember those quiet times when our phones and electronic devices were not in our hands, taking us away from the moment we were in. Whatever the lesson, the hour was well spent and I actually felt a little sad when the library opened its doors and we had to go in.
Shaheen is teacher turned home educator of four residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a homeschool consultant for Kinza Academy and runs a blog on educating our children holistically. Please visit it at www.soulfulstudies.wordpress.com.