Friday, August 13, 2010

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Teachers go to dozens of different workshops and training meetings. I'm the nerd who actually enjoyed these things because I love being a student. Once, though, I went to a teacher workshop that was so outstanding I think about it and use it often with my own kids. After ten years this conference stuck with me for one reason - IT WAS FUN!!! We spent four days at a cabin going on hikes gathering plant and rock specimens, taking water samples and studying clouds and learning how the science of all this related to other subjects. All of this was quite enjoyable and enlightening. The best part of all four days, however, was one rainy afternoon we spent in a crowded dining hall with a local science professor. He had written a book about teaching science with toys. He covered the basics of science from A to Z with a medium size box of toys in one afternoon. This room full of teachers laughed and played and learned more science than we'd ever imagined. That experience is informing this effort to bring more fun into my family's life. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to put into my daily plans, if I ought to overtly insert more "educational moments". For now, I've decided I probably won't. For one thing, it doesn't really jive with my parenting philosophy. Yes, I want to give my kids educational advantages and of course I make every effort to help them succeed academically. I buy them Leapsters (fabulous products... I could really go on and on about them) instead of PSPs. I'm really tight with TV or computer time that offers nothing educationally. I've filled the house with books and art supplies. I make sure homework gets done and teach them that school is important. Mostly though, I believe that an engaged child is a learning child and if something comes up where I know something interesting to teach them, I will, but I don't find it necessary to plan my day around what they can learn. Everything we do is a teachable moment. As long as we're doing, they're learning and if I can make our days fun, well, that's what they'll remember.

Now that I've said that, let's make some fun plans! I was looking for activities on one of my favorite sites when I found this article about playing.
It inspired me to think about what we have that we could play with in a different way. I settled on Alex's old baby bath tub, which we now store balls in. The kids often drag the tub out and throw the balls around, but today I'm going to challenge them to make games out of this tub of balls - and whatever else they want to bring to the party. I'm all excited to see what we come up with! Hopefully, we'll have lots of good fun that is funny!

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