Last week E., my three year old grandson, and I went for a splash in an outdoor swimming pool. He brought a nerf water toy which consists of a plunger inside a barrel. When he pulls out the plunger, the barrel fills with water. Pushing on the plunger expels a long stream of water which is great fun. Earlier in the summer his parents taught him not to shoot water at other swimmers so when I reminded him of the rule, he understood and followed my direction. E. shot water over the edge of the pool along the surface of the deck, straight up into the air, against my arm and hand, and across the length of the pool. He also requested I shoot the water at his tummy which was tricky given the pool depth is 4.5 feet and I need to support him while we are in the water. When I told him I wasn't sure I could do this, he reminded me to "keep trying." Somehow I managed to keep him afloat and tickle his tummy with enough water to make him giggle.
I like to chat with him and also wanted to keep him awake for his supper so I suggested we look for flags on our way to his home. In between our "I Spy" flag game, we talked about flag sizes, colors and shapes. When I called his attention to stars in the corner of an American flag, he replied, "oh yes, stars, sun, moon, helicopters all in the sky." He was delighted every time he spotted a flag.
The drive takes 20 minutes so I didn't have long to keep him entertained. Neither his parents nor my husband and I have video players in our cars. While I might have resorted to DVD player on a few 500 mile vacation days, my children remember trips when we played twenty questions, kept a record of out-of-state license plates, and made goofy figures with pipe cleaners. I packed crayons, paper, stickers, and books. We also consumed lots of animal crackers, grapes, and raisins. Mostly, we had a good time.
Playing with my grandsons reminds me the world is full of wonder. Everyday events are opportunities for play and learning that don't require electronic gadgets or organized activity. As we drove through residential neighborhoods where flags were not as large or as visible as in commercial areas, E. didn't complain or fuss. Instead he reminded me, "You need to keep looking. I need to keep looking." And so we will.