I remember someone saying years ago that young children need to explore, play and have as much hands-on practical experience  as possible.  I am talking about “science” –  the hose in the sandpit, the paper planes, the catapults, the twisted paper clips with teddies attached whizzing down a high wire across the lounge…..

The theory is that with all the practical understanding firmly under their belts, then later in life when they want to put in the academic side, the theories just slot in very easily because the learning is all there.
This makes a lot of sense to me (the Arts student…!)

I have been listening for years to my boys (now 11 and 8) practicing pure science, a lot of physics.   I am always so impressed not just with the activity they set up, but the way they then play with it.  The querying, the questions, the discussions, the  improvements, the results analysed, the intense interest sustained, the  discoveries made and remembered, the extension.

It all just blows me away and shows me how they are so much better off without me in this area of learning!

Today Ollie built this cool experimental air pillow – a whole lot of Horrible History books (all extremely well read by the way!) holding down a lightweight travel towel and with a hairdryer poked in the end to fill it up with  hot air.

The hair dryer, bottom right, fills the balloon with hot air to balance various items on

It was so cool.  They then  tested different things to see what would stay on it while  was blown up.  Including a spinning “Bay Blade” .

He worked out if he made the surface area smaller it could hold up heavier things

I love the passion and energy the kids put into their play, all the discovery and FUN!!

As I write Ollie is outside in the dark with a rubber glove full of water spinning it around and we are all marveling (from inside) how different the shape is as it spins around fast.

Billy and Charlie have taken the glow in the dark Poi outside too……
It is all go….. and it is all science.

It is a good reminder that a child’s “play” is vitally important.  Play creates the foundation blocks of future learning.    It is their work, their main purpose as a child.

Many adults ask me if I shouldn’t be “helping” them more, directing them.   I do a lot of question-answering and supporting, resource gathering and other things to help them meet their needs.  But when they are actually playing, creating and experimenting they have shown me again and again how expert they are at extending themselves and in ways that I would never think of!

I have consistently been inspired by the creative way children think.  Unbounded by the fears and limitations we have has adults, they think right outside the box and keep asking “why”.  This alone is enough to ensure their success as life long learners.

Children are full of wonder.  They truly are wonder-ful.

I am so grateful our kids live the sort of life in which they can shine and be wonderful everyday.


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