February 07, 2007

Ceiling fans can be fun

Ceiling fan photo

My kids and their friends have always been good at inventing games and making their own fun. One time on a hot summer night, for instance, I came home to find that the kids had built a swimming pool. They'd taken long logs that hadn't yet been cut into fireplace-sized pieces, piled the logs crisscross like you would to make a log cabin, and then covered that with any plastic they could find, including all of our shower curtains. Because they wanted a luxurious heated pool, they duct taped the garden hose to the kitchen faucet and turned on the hot water. The pool was pretty shallow, maybe a foot deep altogether, but Blonde Niece, Shaggy Hair Boy, and With-a-Why, who were pretty small then, had fun splashing around until the mosquitoes drove them inside.

Indoor sledding was another game the kids played when they were little. They would take all the blankets and pillows in the house and pile them on the staircase until it was a steep, slippery hill of bedding. Then they would ride down on a plastic toboggan, screaming in delight. As the kids got older, the games got more elaborate. My daughter and her friends used to turn the kitchen linoleum into a skating rink by rubbing the floor with margerine and the sliding across in their bare feet. Boy in Black and his friends went through a winter of fire experiments in the backyard that involved all kinds of flammable items. I figure it's safe to let them play with fire so long as we have at least a foot of snow on the roof.

Play is vital to learning, so I usually don't veto anything unless it looks like someone might get hurt. Playing teaches us science, math, and how the physical world works. Play is important for problem-solving, for analytical thinking, and for creativity. Besides, I think the kind of science experiments my kids come up with are cool. It's fun to duct tape things to a ceiling fan and then turn it on to see what happens. Toilet paper – which is lightweight and readily available – creates a lovely effect when it's taped to ceiling fan.

25 comments:

JustMe said...

being a kid in your house sounds awesome! though if my kids wanted to maragarine the floor, i don't think i could have kept in mind the whole play/science thing ;o)

Jen said...

That photo is just gorgeous!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

That is the coolest photo. And that's so much how I grew up (though mostly because we kept all the big messy projects outside and cleaned up after ourselves...) I don't see kids getting nearly that much leeway to play, these days. But man, was it fun.

Kyla said...

I want my house to be like just like yours, jo(e)! Honestly, if I lived nearby, maybe down the street from you? After I tucked the kids in, I'd probably sneak over to your house to play (leaving Josh on duty for a bit *lol*). It just sounds like that kind of home.

Scrivener said...

That is a super, super cool photo.

Code Yellow Mom said...

This is something I'm learning to love with my little guys. It is amazing how much learning goes on if you just stop and watch what they are coming up with.

That fan photo is awesome - makes me wish I had one, because my 4yo would love to see that...

Horace said...

Like Justme, I think I'd have a hard time not flipping my lid over a greased kitchen floor, or flipping out over a staircase toboggan run... And yet I hope, someday, that I can put the freak-out response on the back burner occasionally, because really, I could use some stairway sledding myself. And I think there may be some colored crepe streamers lurking around somewhere for the fan in the kitchen...

Psycgirl said...

Jo(e) I hope I can be as tolerant and accepting as you when I'm a Mom. I really mean it - I don't know if I could be okay with any of that, but I certainly aspire to be. You're one patient and cool Mom.

Amy A. said...

I draw the line at margarine skating. Any skating has to be done with soap, at least the floor gets mopped that way!

kathy a said...

in the case of the margarine, i'm afraid the phrase "grounded for the rest of your life" would have slipped out before i could take a deep cleansing breath. but i bet your kids always did have fun!

Teri said...

The stuff your kids do sounds fun to ME, too!

Billie said...

Very nice pic! Is this going to become the toilet paper meme? ;-)

lostinthemiddle said...

I am so getting out the duct tape tomorrow . . .

Heh heh heh

Marcia said...

What a cool mom you are!

I am curious though. The way you ended your last paragraph about taping things to ceiling fans makes me think you have more funh stories to tell...?

Camera Obscura said...

I caught #2-Son using a laundry basket for a toboggan on the carpeted steps between the second and first floors. Unfortunately 1) #2-Son is both autistic and hypotonic, meaning that neither mind nor body work "up to standard" and 2) there are two metal front doors six feet directly in front of the bottom of that staircase.

I afraid I had to put both the kibosh to that activity and the fear of Mom in him should he ever think about doing it again.

YourFireAnt said...

You could put that photo atop your Ch'mas tree next year.

FA

jo(e) said...

Or we could just put the Christmas tree under the ceiling fan.

Marcia: Definitely more stories to tell ....

Mean Mum said...

You are a much nicer mum than I am. Can I send my children to you? I'd like to be that kind of mum but I just don't want to have to wash the margarine off the kitchen floor.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Vaseline was Older Daughter's lubricant of choice in her smearing stage. It became a verb.
Me: "What is going on?"
OD: "I Vaseline."

Hmmmm....

jo(e) said...

Yankee: That made me smile.

Mean Mum: Oh, the kids always washed the floor afterwards. In fact, that's the only way our kitchen floor ever got washed ....

Silver Creek Mom said...

OMG that's Hilarious. I would nover allow my kids to do that to the kitchen floor I'd be terrified that they would slip and hit their heads on the ceramic tile. But the Ceiling fan looks awesome. GOtta try that one myself!!!

landis said...

Great photo! I've definitely gotta do that one, the Potato will love it.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I'm in a babysitting co-op, which means that once a month or so I babysit various friends' kids while my husband stays home with ours -- and I just love to see all the kids' various obsessions. They are none of 'em the same.

One of my great worries is that school will kill my kids' creativity. I worry the world will codify for them -- you know, TP is only for bathrooms, drawing is only for art class, etc. It gives me great hope to hear what your teenagers do.

Songbird said...

Cool photo!

liz said...

You are the mom of the century.