“Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome” – Psalm 47
One of the greatest joys of parenthood for me has been encouraging our sons to experiment – explore – play and try new things. I love outside the box thinking. It is fun and funny and delightful and often brings so much laughter and joy into our lives.
I did not grow up this way. I can remember being yelled at by both of my parents for the way I played in my sandbox. And mocked by my parents for using too much tape in my art projects. They had issues – lots and lots of issues.
So when I became a parent – I declared I would be the polar opposite. I wanted our sons to have happy memories of exploring – experimenting and playing freely. I was all in with the finger paint and the glue and the tape and the whatever. I wanted my sons to know the joys of wild-abandon.
We jump in mud puddles on rainy days. Yes – I jump in muddy mud puddles too. Some of us have been known to swim in muddy mud puddles – because it is fun! So far I have refrained from swimming in the mud puddles – but who knows – maybe I too will give it a go someday – only time will tell!?! I am a firm believer that both my children and their clothing should be washable at all times.
I love artsy things. We all make stuff. Some of it is dazzling and sometimes all we can say is we tried our best and move on to the next “great-ish” idea.
Today we made our own green eggs in honor of Dr. Suess. First we tried making them with mini marshmallows – green jellybeans – and crackers. Those were a slightly crumbly – gooey messy miss. But the ones we made with pretzels – white chocolate disks – and green M&M’s were a homerun. The McFarland sons tell me these were very yummy! I may not have been able to eat the green eggs – but I had a lot of fun making them with Will.
I rarely mind messes – especially messes that are made while pursuing something creative. We have forts in our house on a regular basis and sometimes those forts stay up for days and days. Our dining room table often has to be given some extra attention with a magic eraser because it is sporting a stray Sharpie mark or 50! My sons know the fastest way to get my attention is to suggest a trip outside or something crafty. I lean way more elementary school art teacher and way less Martha Stewart (or whoever is “cool” these days.)
I will go to great lengths to encourage and cultivate our sons’ creativity and their imaginations. I get seriously excited about home science experiments.
Today Will’s teacher suggested not one but two optional science projects in her NTI lesson plans. Well – all I can say is that we were in like Flynn. We did need to wait until after Jack was done with his NTI classes for the day. Because although Jack is nearing official legal adult status – he is still my son which means he wanted to be a part of the mess making and the experimenting too.
First we combined baking soda – vinegar and food coloring to make a volcano. Well – actually – we made multiple volcanoes – because VOLCANO in our own backyard in Louisville, Kentucky on a Monday afternoon! It was too much fun to make just one orange volcano and call it a day. Nope – this called for many volcanoes – because volcanoes are so very much fun.
Then Jack and Will made oobleck. Oobleck is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid. What is a non-Newtonian fluid you ask? Well – oobleck is a liquid when it is held loosely in your hand, but it can act as a solid if it is hit more violently. And – of course – Jack and Will both delighted in punching their oobleck with mighty punches – because they are Jack and Will! They came in splashed – splattered and adorned with colorful flecks of oobleck.
One makes oobleck by combining 1 cup of water and 2 cups of cornstarch. We – of course – added food coloring because food coloring is fun! Oobleck is very – very – very fun!
Oobleck is named after a very messy substance in the book by Dr. Suess “Bartholomew and the Oobleck” which, being a Dr. Seuss book, is a delightfully wonderful read. Why yes – it is Dr. Suess week at Will’s school (and probably EVERY elementary school in the universe) this week!
Exploring is fun. Experimenting can be delightful. Letting go every once in a while and just having fun is so good for our souls. Playing is good for us too. Playing teaches us things. Sometimes playing teaches us incredibly important things. It can be intriguing and joyful and hilariously funny!
Remember what it felt like to be 12 years old on a spring evening with nothing to do but explore your neighborhood on your bike?
Remember the joy of opening a new box of crayons and seeing all of those perfectly – perfect colorful crayons just waiting to become amazing art?
Remember waking up on a Saturday and knowing the entire day was yours and yours alone? (Yeah – me neither – but a lady can dream!)
Remember making stuff and thinking it was awesome. (We adults can be so very critical and quick to compare what we have made to the Mona Lisa or to what we saw on Pinterest yesterday afternoon . . . )
Have fun. Explore. Play. Do something (other than watch television or play on your phone) just because! Enjoy the blessing of being alive. Celebrate and give thanks. Try something. Give it a whirl. Let go for a while. Delight.
Joy and fun and excitement aren’t just for children and Christmas morning!
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –