(from the Toddle in the City blog)
One of the joys of having children is witnessing the gradual imprints that they make on the world as they come to understand it and begin to learn about what it might all be about.
Toddle in the City has been a small part of this process with my daughter as she’s carried her camera around with other children of different ages looking around the place around her. Not only is she learning about the place around her and the city she lives in, but she’s learning a new skill with the camera as well.
Father’s Day came and went this Sunday, and my daughter was a little more aware about what it might mean. She’d prepared a couple of cards for me, and gave me them in the morning with a small present. But the day was really about her. First, in the morning, we took her to her first football skills lesson, prompted by a boy in her nursery who was also going to go. She’s always been willing to kick a ball around and the lesson provided a structure to do that, again with other kids. She really loved the hour lesson, and it proved to be the highlight of the day for her.
After a trip to the market for some bread, and then lunch, we prepared for an afternoon playing on the street.
We have a lively little community in our street. A number of neighbours have got together to help to make the street better, and in the last year have successfully brought about improvements in litter collection, in the road markings (it’s a one way street where people frequently go the wrong way) on the street and to the maintenance of the trees. This particular Sunday, in the wake of the Council refusing our request to close the street for three hours on a Sunday to allow kids to play without the risk of traffic, we had organised a chalking event. In short, parents provided chalks to the kids, parents watched their kids, stewards watched the traffic and kids chalked the pavements.
Despite they threat of rain at the start, kids came from many houses in the street to decorate the pavements. My daughter was happy milling around with the other kids, expressing herself, being drawn around, writing her name, scribbling with colours and generally having a ball for three hours outside.
It’s constantly on my mind that I should be seeking to stimulate my children as much as possible far beyond the easy option of being indoors, having the television on and staring at their parents’ face the whole time. They have to find a way to adulthood where they can function and take part, contribute something. Whilst my daughter seems to love to draw and chase a ball around – amongst other things – exposing her to different people, different experiences and different activities should help to ensure that she can understand and interpret the world around her and be more accepting of its opportunity and it’s threats.
We all know that childhood is a wonderful learning experience. I’m learning that parenthood is a pretty cool one, too.