What is Colorless, Noiseless, and Plastic?

Answer: Play

Kids Don’t Play With Their Toys
I was recently reminded that the fascination with the ordinary begins early. The baby of course is in on the action now that he’s a bit more agile and slightly more mobile (if you count rolling and bear crawling mobile). You would think from watching my older kids, I have come to expect children’s curiosity for the mundane. I suppose I have, but it’s still fascinating to me, that curiosity, that clearly begins far before early childhood. It obviously begins as early as infancy, which makes sense because everything to an infant is new and fascinating. Zero to Three, a parenting resource, reinforces that everyday objects like wooden spoons or cardboard paper tubes are a source of discovery and engages infants and toddlers in early problem-solving. Imagine if more adults and older children, who have had the curiosity and wonderment sucked out of them, could tap into that “everything is fascinating” mindset. That sense of wonderment could be delightfully leveraged in educational contexts and the workplace.

What Can We Learn from Babies?
I recently caught my six-month-old in a moment of wonderment, so I sat down next to him and wondered a bit myself. There on the floor, in the basket, on the sofa, the most colorful, noise producing toys; a wonderland for little people without words or teeth. Yet, the objects, all shapes and sizes just right for curious little fingers to grab and clasp were not that interesting to my son. Those objects solely produced to encourage babies to gnaw, stare, think, pull, twist, and throw could not compare to a single random piece of formed plastic, which he played with for so long, I stopped counting the minutes. I wondered if he was curious about its colorlessness, its translucence, or that it kept its shape and felt slick on his skin? What an interesting object his eyes seemed to say, his hands tightly gripped on the edge of the thing-a-ma-gig.

What if as adults we could tune into our sense of curiosity and fascination? How would we see life differently?

“Curiosity is the key to creativity.” ~Akio Morita

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Categories: Education, Kids Play, Parenting, Photography

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