Nov 11, 2007

Bored Children and Water Deprivation

Children get bored easily, don't they? At least my grandchildren do when they come to our house. They usually say there is nothing to do because their cousins were not invited too. Well, I've finally figured out the real reason why they are bored. They are WATER deprived! (And I don't mean nightly baths.)

Water is what it takes to keep children playing happily. Not too deep, and preferably running, although even still, clean, shallow water will keep a child with a cup occupied for at least half an hour. A water spray that also irrigates the lawn is good, but the combination of water and dirt is even better. Children's imaginations soar higher and higher as their hair, hands, and clothes get dirtier and dirtier. MUD, the favorite plaything of a child!

A small creek with running water is ideal, especially if crawdads, snails, and minnows can be found. A bag of concrete mix is also a fine toy to build a dam and create a small pool and waterfall. Don't forget the bucket. Water is only water until you add a bucket to a child's hand.

If the reader wants to raise happy children who are not bored and learn to use their imaginations, then make water a favorite plaything. Don't buy toys! Buy more water from the Water Utility (and detergent from WalMart!)

If you're a parent and don't have a nearby creek that is safe for children to play in, then build a shallow water garden with a pump to make water flow down around rocks. Kids love to play with rocks (their second best toy!), although you'll have to adjust to picking them out of the nearby grass before mowing.

Adding goldfish to the artificial pond is great, too. The water depth can be much less than the recommended 18 inches to 2 feet deep recommended for permanent goldfish. Simply replace these inexpensive yellow creatures as they die of exhaustion while playing with your children, or are caught and given to the family cat as a treat!

Gosh, I wish I was a child again with a small creek down the road. [Needless to say, 2- to 3-year olds can get into a lot of trouble with relatively shallow water. Consider safety first as you judge your children's suitability for different kinds of water playing. ]

Singing on Summer Evenings, a Long Time Ago

The other evening I shelled a bucket of small lima beans that had dried in a cardboard box in the garage. This time our house was silent--quite unlike the noisy times at my Grandma's farm when our families got together to shell fresh lima beans and place them in pint jars for selling at the City Market.

Best of all, shelling beans on a hot summer evening on my Grandma's front porch was where I learned to sing the songs that are reprinted in The Golden Book of Favorite Songs. An old friend recently sent me this memory of group singing in older times:
The Golden Book was used for all the "community meetings" in Ash Rock, and every home with a piano had one -- and used it. Schools did too. Everybody was familiar with everything in it. This practice of group singing at almost every public function (not only Church) was still the norm when we moved to the country -- a remnant of pre-REA days - no radio, no TV. People entertained themselves.