Having enjoyed blue play dough and blue baths, we were ready for our 3rd super easy blue-themed activity – a bit of outdoor blue fun: blue ice block boats!
To be honest, I could hardly wait to see B’s imagination run wild, setting sail to the cool little boats. Once the mini paper sails were stuck on the straws which had been frozen in the blue ice blocks, I handed the tray over to B. I loved watching him excitedly carry the intriguing new blue-themed toys out to the pre-set water tub…but that’s where the predictability ended!
This is a story about a mama’s perfectly planned activity being turned completely on its head!
By backing off completely and simply being entertained and surprised by young B leading the play, I observed him engaging so naturally, so meaningfully and with such focus. I even remember wondering at the time if this is what ‘flow‘ must look like in a child: content, bsy, exploring, experimenting, playing without prompts, moving easily from one aspect to the next… until the mild winter’s day started to turn dark and cold, and we both realised it must be dinner time!
And you know what? … I could never have planned such a perfect play experience!
Here is how my lesson in play unfolded, with my 2 year old professor…
Firstly, while I sighed with disappointment as my poorly conceived and constructed ice block boats all fell over, upturned and dissolved … I desperately tried to make myself feel better by adding some bright blue drops of blue food colouring. Maybe B wouldn’t notice all the failed boats if there was blue colouring!
But this curious little guy wasn’t bothered in the slightest that mama’s boats were a complete and utter ‘failure’ – on the contrary, he was mesmerised – quietly watching some spin into nothing-ness, and carefully ‘saving’ others by returning them to the ice-block tray.
For quite some time, the ice tray itself seemed to become a large sea vessel being navigated purposefully around the tub; and little fingers and hands calmly and enthusiastically swished the colouring here and there until it all disappeared into the rest of the ‘ocean’.
So I retreated to a nearby bench and relaxed, watching with peace and intrigue what was coming next!
Out of a decent display of blue bits and bobs (many pulled directly from the blue bath time fun bucket) – the containers and scoops caught his eye. After a little to-ing and fro-ing about in the tub, the scooping became more and more flamboyant and exuberant!
Seriously, this kiddo worked on his over the head- blue water tossing and splashing style like crazy – over and over and over for a very long time!! He seemed to love staring into the long fountains of blue streaming water! The SPLASHES sounded great, looked spectacular, and were accompanied with the most gorgeous, spontaneous laughs and squeals of delight!
Once there was ‘enough’ water on the floor of our concrete jungle, the puddle jumping fun kicked off!
Then the (blue-ish) dinosaur from our nearby, outdoor, Dinosaur Small World in a Pot, made a guest appearance. It roared loudly, took an ice tray boat ride, had a sleep in amongst some blue balloons, splashed in the water, drank a bit too, and was fed some food off a blue fork!
In between all that hectic fun, B took a calm moment to blow the rainbow wheel… *ahhh*!
So what did I learn this fine day? To trust that children naturally know how to play, and to celebrate that they are the play experts … may the big people just sit back, watch, enjoy, and learn!
If, however, you are on the lookout for some great DIY boat craft ideas, KC Edventures have some cool ones you’ll just love here! And just because I’d still like to try these again one day … if you have made little ice block boats, I’d love to hear how they have remained upright!!
Thanks for visiting Kids’ Play Space!