Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Leaning Tower of Lily

My little lady has really gotten into building blocks lately, creating architectural marvels and spreading cities on the rug in the play room. Now that her adoring and curious little bro has (after much work) learnt that the towers are not to be knocked down without permission, her towers are getting more and more elaborate.

I can barely express how much I love to see this kind of creative play at work... I admit I am not much one for bells and whistles, batteries, technology and plastic when it comes to kid's play! I just love to see children fully engaged with a few plain old wooden blocks, letting their amazing minds engage, experiment and explore. It is the best kind of 'play-based learning', in my humble opinion!

Lily was busily at work while I was in the kitchen when she proudly called me over, 'Mummy, look what I did!'

Behold, an engineering marvel that surely defies the laws of gravity!

(Sidenote: I want to put a 'winking' emoticon here but don't seem to have any available, this lack of emoticons is really holding me back on expressing my full range of emotions, so sad!)

This is what absolutely kills me about kids - if they are given space to just do their thing, they will astound you. I have found when Lily is at work, it is best for me to simply remove myself from the room at times - so I don't have to bite my tongue continually against saying things like 'Oh careful, that block is too big to go on top/Whoa, watch it doesn't fall/I'm not sure that will go there/ Maybe try a smaller block, etc'. That impulse to involve myself, to control, to warn, to prevent failure, (with the best of intentions, of course) is hard to fight!!

I so easily see where this project is likely to fail. But Lily? She isn't interested in planning the best tower strategy. Of course her little mind is at work, but she is learning best through trial and error and blissful experimentation. She isn't gingerly placing blocks and waiting for that tower to tumble - no, she is merrily and casually slapping block on top of block, defying all kinds of engineering basics without even realising it or trying (or caring) and, while her mother applauds the result, she simply gives herself a pleased little nod and moves on to the next one. And if it should fall? Enjoy the disaster and get back into it!

I love how it leans to the right - how it still stands, I don't know!

While I wasn't even looking, my child created the kind of tower I am sure I couldn't do if I tried (and probably because I was trying so hard!). I'm not  saying of course that this tower is truly some sign of genius or prowess, (or is it?? haha!) but just that something in it's whacky and brave construction struck my heart. These beautiful children - just look at what they can do! Who knows what other marvels they are capable of... I think half the battle is just getting out of the way and letting them at it!

PS - Oh, I simply must encourage you to pop over to my hilarious friend's blog about the playdate between Eli and her daughter yesterday... including Eli industriously cleaning up and showing off his underwear!


  1. Lily those towers are amazing!!!

  2. You are such an amazing mother Kate. It is so true about giving them space and holding back on our "suggestions". I guess we have to learn that they will seek out help in their play if they need it. I also love that Finn sometimes wants me involved in his play and othertimes makes it clear that he wants to go it alone.

    Loved your friend's post - Eli, you are a crack up!

    1. thanks amber!! yep so true about giving them space to engage you and lily is so the same - sometimes begging me to play w her, other times so happy to just go it alone!

  3. So true and so wise!
    it's interesting how we can put limitations on kids and squash their creativity when, in our heart of hearts, we are trying to help.
    that really is some amazing towers!

  4. They are absolutely fearless.
    My daughter often shows me that she can do all I kinds of things I didn't realise if I just stand back and let her.
    That tower is pretty spiffy. I love that it is now documented for posterity, instead of being so quickly forgotten in the business that is life.
    This project really is something very special!


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