Our boys are pretty content running around here getting into all sorts of inventive, creative projects that cause me to either turn my head and pretend I don’t see what they are doing or cause me to be thankful that they are happily work-playing. The lack of brain stimulation to get those creative juices flowing to inspire creativity makes for bored boys and nerved mothers who have to deal with bored boys. It is amazing what happens when you throw out the TV and prevent electronic games from taking over their minds and instead, give them tools and access to the outdoors!
However, as much as I love encouraging creative play, I did put a moratorium on unapproved scrap dream building for a time until we accomplished some much needed real building and repairs around here. The amount of scrap wood hammered to the trees and towering contraptions that look like human traps were becoming a bit too much.
As if that isn’t enough, walking into the bathroom and seeing a raccoon skin hanging over the bathtub or waking in the kitchen bright and early in the morning to find a squirrel tail soaking in my tupperware plastic container sitting on counter is slightly more disturbing. I will leave that alone for another post, but you get the idea. The point is having a load of boys around here isn’t for the faint hearted and weary.
If we aren’t careful the back yard can quickly turned into a junk yard of concoctions of high valued (in the eyes of the children) inventive objects and projects.
My boys don’t ask for toys, they ask for strange things like hardware cloth and caster wheels. The boys often hand me their list of things they “NEED”.
It goes something like this:
- 20 feet of copper tubing
- 10 wood 2X4’s
- a bag of spot ties
- an old tire from the dump yard
- salt without iodine
- pvc pipe
You may be asking why a 10 year old needs copper tubing or salt without iodine. I don’t know. I assure you they have a very good reason. To them, the greatest toys are a dump truck load of dirt, pvc pipe connectors and 60 feet of rope. Am I the only one who has the rule, “No picking things up off the parking lot or store floor, no matter how useful it might look to you.”
Instilling a creative, inventive spirit in your boys is not that difficult. I find that most boys are eager to get out there and work with their hands, however, they are often frustrated by their sterile environments that stifle any sort of creativity or ability to think about creating something out of nothing.
In the end, what they create may still end up being just a big piece of junk, however, it is their big piece of junk that they worked on with their own two hands and brain power that they are exceedingly proud of. The trick is to harness that energy and creativity to be geared towards projects that are useful and beneficial to the family. As of yet, we are hitting and missing on that one, but at least they are getting some good practice and hopefully developing skills that will highly useful and productive.
Today, after I put the babies down for a nap, I spent some time baking in the kitchen with the windows up, enjoying the beautiful breezes outside rustling the bush against the window screen. I soon heard a distant, annoying, noise screeching and squealing over and over. I quickly discovered that the horrid sound was in fact another piece of “boy ingenuity” that had added to our collection of yard art.
The boys made a cart to pull behind their peddle cart: a very noisy, squealing, squeaking cart that they used to haul all sorts of other pieces of junk around the yard today.
It proved useful when they won their baby sister’s affection by pulling her around in their brand new, super-proud-of, inventive and creative pull cart made out of scrap wood, nails, scrap fence wire, left over chicken wire and a pair of old bicycle training wheels.
Just a regular day in the life of a boy…