The ability to live our lives outside, whatever the weather, has enhanced our lives immensely. Now is a rare day indeed which finds us in the house from morning to night, even if the excursion is no more or less than a ten minute walk to say “hi” to the cows. So it is, all irony aside, that I now find myself delighting in wet weather days because though the freedom of being outside is so vital, it’s equally so that they enjoy being at home, just together, with no other distractions around and rainy cold days are the perfect excuse to indulge in being at home, in not getting dressed and making a good mess inside.
It’s been a while since I set up any static sensory play. Because he loves being involved in daily chores, simple tasks like washing up “bubbles!”, baking, chopping fruit, sniffing herbs, M gets plenty of this stimuli. There is though something very different between mixing flour with a purpose, and being let loose with a bowl full. Add a little brother there too, and well, things are somewhat quite different again!
Brothers aside, it’s fascinating to me to witness M’s changing approach to the same materials time after time as he plays and to see his developmental leaps you often miss. When painting lately M as been asking for watercolours to dabble with. He seems to like the instant fluidity from the brush to the paper, and as water splashes aside, this type of painting yields little post-fun mess to clean; for both of us this is important. Despite loving exploring textures and materials, M really has a hard time with mess on his skin, or anyone elses. Mealtimes can be stressful, playing on wet grass or in mud always follows laughter with squeals and the last time we attempted finger-painting was sensory overload. So it was with trepidation that I pulled out the shaving cream this week, squirted in some poster paint and left M to work, and it was with utter joy that I watched our determined little guy paint his fingers, then his hands, and then the paper! There were still a few “clean me” moments – a damp cloth on hand is always a must – but overall he managed to enjoy this activity more contentedly than he could have done just a few short months ago. It was wonderful both to see him relax in the concentration, and in controlling the mess overload panic, instead just reaching for the cloth. What a difference a few weeks can make – I wonder what the next few will bring?