"Children were born to move. It impacts not only physical development, but cognitive, social, and emotional development – the whole child." Rae Pica author of A Running Start.
I agree wholeheartedly with that.
There was a fair bit of child movement around here today. Georgia rang this morning and asked could her Best Friend Ever, Archer and his sister Niamh come and play with her at my place today. That sounded like a lot more fun than anything I had planned!
I'm not sure I can remember the extact order of their games, they switched from one to the other quickly and seamlessly.
They began sedately enough by picking passionfruit.
Which lead naturally to making and eating passionfruit pancakes. I remember my nervousness the first time I allowed Niamh to flip pancakes but she is now confident and accomplished. Georgia and Archer had done the measuring and mixing and they all enjoyed the fruits of their labour.
With fuel on board they raced off to the cowshed to see if they could find some nails. Then came running back empty handed.
Plans to build a cart changed in a flash to the need for a parachute. Before I had time to fetch them a suitable length of material they had delved into my stash and found the perfect piece. I was about to tell them, no, not that bit as my mother had sent it to me. But I figured they wouldn't do it much harm (and they didn't).
A square of material, a ball of wool, a stapler and a fair bit of discussion later, the parachute successfully passed the ground test.
And, silly me, I thought they would be happy with that. But, no, Archer wanted to give it a thorough test by jumping off the roof of the little shed in the paddock at the back of the house. I suddenly had a vision of what happened when Bernie jumped off the hen house roof, he broke a number of bones in his foot. But I reasoned he was only three when that happened and Archer and Georgia are eight now. I wouldn't have had any hesitation in allowing my own children to do it at that age. Bernie came undone because he tried to do what he'd seen his eight year old brother do dozens of times wearing his Superman cape. He was convinced he was hurt because he hadn't been wearing the cape but he had no chance of getting that away from his brother for a couple of years, it took my sternest voice to get him to remove it to go to bed.
But I'm much more protective of my grandchildren and their friends. How horrified would Archer and Niamh's parents be if they broke a leg while I was looking after them? And what if Georgia, in landing, somehow put too much weight on the elbow that has already been surgically pinned (following an accident at school).
You know how sometimes, if you put enough obstacles in the way of kids doing something, they forget about it? I made them search the ground below the shed to make sure there was nothing in the long grass that could hurt them when (and if) they landed.
Then they had to see if they could climb the tree above the shed. It's a spindly old thing but the branches, I discovered, are surprisingly strong. Then came the very careful testing to see if the old roof would take their weight.
I ran out of things to worry about and finally said OK. I think Georgia had been relying on me to say no, as she suddenly became a little reluctant. But Archer assured her over and over with, "She said we could Georgia. We can both do it, can't we, Granny?"
Niamh, meanwhile, was in the kitchen making scones for our lunch and I was moving back and forth between the thrill seekers and the sensible ten year old. We discussed what was happening outside and when I said taking risks is how young children learn I loved her reply, "I can learn without taking risks like that!"
The parachute didn't open on the first jump but Archer assured Georgia it was a lot of fun.
They were a lot happier with the chute when Georgia jumped.
The jumpers made a few more leaps after lunch - the scones were delish - then came running inside and without any discussion, out came the dress up clothes and Archer and Georgia were play acting like a pair of girls.
For a few minutes. Until suddenly they wrestling on the floor wrestling like a pair of boys.