Boredom Schmoredom (with Architectural Beading)

Welcome back for another installment of Boredom Schmoredom! This time, we see what happens when kids use things in ways for which they were not intended. I’m celebrating this, in part, because I got in trouble so often for just this very thing when I was kid. Not this particular version, mind you, but the tendency (to use things in ways they weren’t intended to be used). I think I even got spanked for this offense…

At any rate, though it isn’t always something I condone (depending on the specifics), I often enjoy seeing what novel uses the girls come up with for the seemingly mundane objects at their disposal. On this particular day, it was a set of snap together beads and jewels. The girls have made many a ring, bracelet, or necklace with these before, but that was not the intention this time.

This time, the entire bucket of beads was employed in the construction of the world’s least tenable architectural art piece, and in generating the most laughs per minute I have heard — perhaps ever. One or both ends of each bead snaps (somewhat loosely) into or onto the next, in an egg-shell-strength lock, generally capable of holding together around your neck for an hour, but wholly inappropriate for what the girls were repeatedly making it do. And therein lay the challenge, and the hilarity. The girls linked every single one of the beads together and carefully, carefully, lowered the string over the edge of the stair well, in an attempt to get the string to reach all the way to the lower level floor.

Because of the loosey-goosey, house-of-cards nature of the beads’ linking mechanisms, the entire thing was structurally completely unsound. When they lowered it too quickly, or too jerkily, the strand separated and crashed onto the stairs and floor below. One of the girls would then retrieve the lost part and immediately start attaching it to the other end. And each time, they would see how low they could get it to go, and each time when it broke, they all erupted into shivering fits of laughter so jubilant that it filled the house. Over and over and over and over again, they would build it up, lower it down, watch it break and fall, laugh their heads off, collect the fallen bits and go again. They did this in two separate sessions that day for a total of no less than 3 hours. Seriously.

I found myself thinking, if they can do something like this for 3 hours, then why have adults made entertaining children so complicated!? None of us invented the television or the video game, so I am not trying to blame parents for the fact that there are creativity-sucking toys out there. It’s just one of the many things humans do — invent things because they can whether or not they really want the things they invent — and I am not trying to second guess the invention(s). However, we parents today are the ones who (unfortunately/foolishly?) use these distraction tools to entertain our kids, and thereby, dissuade them from and disable them in entertaining themselves. And plainly, we don’t need to. And when I see our girls making up their own fun, and having such a good time, I think we don’t even want to allow them to be distracted or “entertained” in any other way.

Given the opportunity, all kids can develop their own innate creativity, imagination, and ability to self-entertain. If we don’t get in the way, they’ll have no trouble whatsoever. All we have to do is put them in charge of their own Boredom Schmoredom. And when anything in parenting is this easy, I think, why not go with it!

Make fun, by simply allowing it.

*

And be well.

*

P.S. For those of you interested in more ways to find fun in parenting, Natalie and I are proud to announce that at the end of the summer, we are going to do an e-course called “Parenting on the Same Team” and one of the focus areas will be Parenting Fun. We plan to do a “He Said, She Said” kind of format, so you will get access to thoughts from both of us on each topic during the course. We’ll have more details and registration information for you in the coming weeks. Hope you can make it!

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About Nathan M McTague

I am a full-time Parent of three, Writer, Life Coach, Lecturer, and Natural Parenting Mentor. In all of the above, I am seeking to assist my fellow humans in their processes of claiming and unleashing their highest potentials.
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8 Responses to Boredom Schmoredom (with Architectural Beading)

  1. One of the many things I love about this is that it reminds me that I don’t always have to tell my children how something works or what something is for. As long as they’re being safe, I can just let them figure it out & often their ideas are way more creative that whatever was originally intended by the inventor! Great series, Nathan. I’m really enjoying the posts. :)
    ~ Gina

    • Hiya, Gina!

      What you say here reminds me of some research I came across recently that showed when a teacher sat down and told her students about all the ways to play with a new toy, the kids were more likely to just play with it the way she showed them. But when she acted ignorant of the toy’s faculties and just offered it to the kids to figure out, they would not only find the things she had shown the others, but they also went on to find the other things that the toy could do. Makes one wonder how much “teaching” may actually be hindering our kids more than empowering them…

      Anyway, glad you’re enjoying the Boredom Schmoredom!

      Good to hear from you, too. ;)

  2. hehe this sounds so much like our home – everything goes over the side of the stairs – most often the girls fish for items below them, but they have also tried any number of other things. Though we do have a rule – if it makes a hole in the wall they have to try something else – if someone is on the stairs, they have to wait. : ) we’ve had a few accidents in the past. and our new home has twice as many dings in the walls as our old home.

    I’m interested to hear what you and Natalie have to say in your new series.

    • We’ll keep you posted, Sarah, as to when and how you can get access to the e-course. You, in particular, may not be surprised by most of what we we’ll say, but I know you’ll be encouraged by it. I hope you’ll join us!

      Be well.

  3. This is so great!
    Last week my kids crushed up sidewalk chalk with a garden hoe, added rainwater to make paste and painted it onto our garbage can with feathers.
    Who am I to get in the way of that?

  4. Narelle says:

    Hi Nathan

    Have you seen the Filth Wizardry blog? There is a post on there about the children being engaged in a stick project for over a month – http://www.filthwizardry.com/2011/06/open-ended-sculpture-fun-with-glue-and.html. Everyone who comes into the home adds more to the project. Amazing!

    Looking forward to your ecourse!

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