Two weekends ago, we were at our friends’ house for a barbeque/party to celebrate their new baby on-the-way. The party was indoors and outdoors with lots of little ones running about. My dear friend Kelly offered face paints to the children and asked if they’d like to decorate their friends’ faces. This was particularly fun for my youngest who loves face paint, but rarely gets to apply it to a friend’s face. We collectively surrendered to the mess and decided that the evening would end with baths. Within minutes a few stars and whiskers were added to faces, but then the party moved outside and the paints were left behind.
Once outside the children found our friend’s canoe, which was parked on the grass . They hopped inside and were instantly paddling through uncharted waters, encountering aquatic friends and foes, and setting off for far away adventures. All of the adults looked away for a moment or two, and when we refocused our attention, the children were making telescopes, painting eye patches on their eyes and one was even wearing a pirate costume that he had brought from home. Random, but true! Oh my! It was just amazing! They had turned an ordinary play session into a pirate adventure…..eye patches and all.
This was a reminder to me that a simple prop — in this case, the canoe– can transform a play space and spark the imagination. And, that letting children lead the way is magical. Oh, and it also makes me think that a DIY pirate party would be a fabulous summer birthday idea.
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