This has been a wonderful time of the year for my family to move into our new home. We’ve met many of our new neighbours because we’re all out playing and gardening. We’ve had cool, rainy days to splash in the muck and catch worms. We’ve also enjoyed dry, hot days for playing in the hose and swimming.
Alas, what would moving be if it didn’t come with a fair bit of chaos and challenges. However, it’s all worth it now that my kids have their own rooms for the first time in their lives! AND with two bathrooms, we have significantly decreased the number of conflicts, especially in the morning. *wink*
And now onto other fun stuff…
Have you ever wanted to dig a hole in your backyard but your parents said “NO!” because they worried it would tear up the lawn and bring down the property value of the house?
I sure did.
So, when my almost 13 year old daughter declared, “I want to dig a big hole in our backyard”, we created a space in our backyard for us to dig as we feel like it. We made sure we still had space for a 40 square foot vegetable garden, trees and just enough open space for hula hooping and lying in the grass to stare up at the sky.
At first, I was considering turning the space into more garden and it was my five year old son who insisted that we keep the space for digging. My seven year old daughter was fascinated by all the worms and bugs she could find there.
When my oldest grabbed the large spades from the shed, the others follow her.
While they dug, I heard them talk of gold mines and hot lava at the centre of the earth. They hit gravel and puzzled over how to dig further. We talked about how new sub-divisions have so little top soil compared to the 100+ year old yard we had at our previous house.
I sit on my back deck, soaking up the morning sun while eating my breakfast. I’m enjoying that the dig site offers endless hours of exploration and experimentation. The kids dig when the hole is dry, add water and dig, then let it dry up again, and dig some more. The kids talk about bugs, how to dig in a way that keeps the land around it intact and our house in order, how to keep from losing tools, floating, sinking, erosion, the power of water and their own hands, and so much more. I notice their learning edges and wonder out loud with them, “What happens if you do…?” or “What do you notice…” Most times I don’t even ask. They’re eager to share what they’ve found and that leads us to talking about what it was like when I was a kid and they ask more questions.
We’re learning together, all the time.
Out of consideration for all of us and the order in our home, I also ask them to think about clean-up too. Will it be with a warm bucket of soapy water or the garden hose? “I’ll get you a towel”, I say.
I’m reading a book called, “Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature” by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown. I purchased it from the Wilderness Awareness School.
There are many wonderful stories and core routines suggested in its pages. However, something in the way my children talk about their adventures afterward, on the back deck, over the dinner table or while we tuck them into bed at night, makes me wonder about a key part of learning and human development that they call “Story of the Day”.
In addition to spending time figuring out a situation and working with materials, like this dig site in our backyard, storytelling seems quite important. Important because all of us seem to do it whether we’re happily excited or frustrated about what we’ve discovered. When we’ve learned something new or we’re trying to figure something out, we express it in words, pictures, diagrams, Lego models, our pretend play, or conversations…whatever form it takes. For examples, “Mommy, Daddy, you’re never going to guess what I did!” or “You’re never going to believe what he said to me today…” or “This is stupid. You know why…”
Recently, I sent my two boys out to explore a nearby creek because they were bored and looking for something new to do. When they came back, they had many stories to share. I asked them what they saw. My questions sparked their senses and revealed what they were aware of, what they may have missed, what they’d like to explore next time, and what they could share with the whole family.
It makes me wonder:
How do our stories help us integrate and understand our world?
What do they tell us about how we see the world and ourselves?
What do stories reveal about our assumptions and beliefs?
How do these shape the rest of our stories and what we do next?
How do our stories reveal our learning edges?
How can we carve out time in our days to tell stories to each other?
What inspires us?
What do we remember about growing up?
How do our stories help us find our place in the world?
Do you wonder about these things?
What do you wonder about?