Since their toddlerhood, Ana and Og have inspired me to create casual toys based on their interest at that moment, with things handy at home, nothing fancy.
The one that is etched in my memory is the Fill-and-Spill toy - any container with a lid and a slot on the lid to drop things inside. Oggie was obsessed with that activity when he was about one year old. I could just park him on the floor in my vicinity and go about my business knowing he will be occupied for 20 minutes at least, which is a long time for a one year old to focus on one activity.
I was casually clicking through some of my old posts here - just nostalgia, plus some late-night "alone time" - when I came across this little piece I wrote for Oggie. Ordinarily, I would dismiss it as Post-partum drivel, but, I do remember what prompted me to write it... and it gave me the much-needed perspective as I try to help Oggie through his Wild and Testing-Boundaries and Acting-Out-Impulsively phase that he has been going through lately...
Anyway, back to the I-Spy Jar. Oggie used to have something like this around when he was 2.5 or so but possibly because the size of it was not comfortable for his little fingers then, he didn't play with it much. He loved the I-Spy board books (Jean Marzollo), though.
About a week ago one fine evening he declared, "I want to do a project with you, Mama."
"OK. What project do you want to do? Build a toy/game/model? Create art? Make a book?", I indulged hoping to get to the specifics he had in mind, not realizing that he wanted to do it right then.
"I want to make I-Spy Jar like I saw in Ana's School for my friend now, Mama", he stated with finality.
"That's easy, shouldn't take too long", I caught myself thinking, knowing how some of his 'projects' seem to take shape organically and hence become quite time-consuming.
Empty jar with lid,
Rice to fill the jar with,
a dozen or so little things to put in the jar to spy
I went with an empty plastic jar I had set aside for recycling - didn't want to use my glass canning jars - anything breakable, Oggie is sure to break it and I didn't want to be dealing with broken glass.
Oggie chose to color the rice blue and yellow and green - blue and yellow makes green.
He went about the house finding a few things he wanted to put in the jar:
smiley face button
large and small Wiggly eyes
shiny glitter shapes - butterflies, swirlies, stars etc
about 15 or 16 small items in all.
We filled the jar, a little at a time. After the first layer of rice, Oggie added a few of the items to hide in the jar. And then another layer of rice and so on until the jar was full.
I quickly tightened the lid and whisked it away to take a picture of the layered colored rice before he shook it all up.
And when I handed it back to him, "Can we go to my friend's house and give it to him now?" caught me by surprise.
And no amount of logical reasoning about the long drive to the next town, uninvited, at dinner time, seemed to satisfy him until I offered that we can take it to school the next day and see if the friend wants to play with it.
That was over a week ago.
And Oggie chose to leave it in school to share with his friends, which made me very happy - just the fact that it is something he made (with my help, of course) and the fact that he wanted to share it with his friends. It showed me that he feels some connection with his friends at school and feels comfortable enough to want them to experience the joy of his creation.