Friday, March 13, 2015

This Is What Happens When There Is Slow, Screen-Free Time

As I head into another weekend, after a full and blessed week, I think back on last Sunday...

I have been making an effort to SLOW DOWN life with the kids, especially on the Sabbath.  The fruit of doing never ceases to amaze me.  And what the kids get themselves into rarely ceases to amuse me.

What do kids without a screen do on a quiet Sunday night? 

Well, at our home last Sunday, Nina discovered a shaped piece of ice that she and Jack had found in a water bottle earlier in the day and had squirreled away in our freezer.  When she was going to make a smoothie, she spied it, took it out, got a hammer and screwdriver and began to sculpt.

The noise of Nina's activity piqued her brothers' curiosity.  They dropped what they were doing, came in, saw what she was doing and decided to join her.

In minutes, all three children began pounding and whittling ice.

Then, out came figurines, ice cubes and more. And, into the freezer, went trays of water with figurines in them.  

The children set a timer and waited for some of their figurines to get caught in ice. Then, they took them out to break the figurine's free from the "pack ice".


They also took out more ice cubes and water bottles and began setting creatures in water on icebergs.

Stories unfolded.  Narrations made me smile.

I attempted to be unobtrusive while snapping some pictures of it all.

The snapshots, of course, don't do it justice to the incredible, child-led exploration and fun that unfolded: the way tools were used to solve problems - such as plyers to remover "icebergs" - and loose parts were used to "test" waters - such as a purple straw becoming an implement to test how deep the "arctic waters" were. Yet, the photos do offer a small glimpse of the imaginations at work, which I was so blessed to observe.

Indeed, sometimes, each child was in his or her own world: Jack spinning in circles singing to a figurine, Luke narrating stories with other figurines, Nina sculpting... 

At other times, the children came together with a new idea, experiment or joint-story, all self-directed.

Always, the children relished the freedom of knowing they could use tools, bowls, old pans, trays, and more to their heart's content.

I marveled at the children's choices last Sunday night: imaginative, inquisitive, incredible.  Tonight, reflect on the gift of those moments with my young ones and look forward to more simple blessings this weekend.

Have you observed your children's imagination at work recently?  What blessings have come out of consciously slowing down and, perhaps, limiting screen time?


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