Delight Directed "Science" Play

Mali is always in the kitchen doing "science" experiments. I love that he loves to experiment. . . until he uses up costly ingredients or wants me to taste his experiment. One time he used 3/4 of a $10 bottle of ground cardamom and a whole bottle of real vanilla extract, among some other interesting ingredients. The house had a lovely chai smell to it, but yikes! I am laughing as I recall my husband coming home and remarking on how good it smelled and how I showed him the lovely mess Mali made. I'd really love to guide his natural curiosity to explore and experiment . . . but, in an unplanned, planned sort of way.

One day, he asked me if he could make a pie and told me what he would like to use. My answer was, "Not with those ingredients" and I explained that you need to follow a recipe to make a pie. So he made up a recipe.

His ingredients:

  • apples
  • banannas
  • raisins
  • peanut butter
  • agave nectar
  • clementines
  • toothpicks

He was very pleased with his pie.

It was actually quite good.

This week we had an impromptu, delight directed "science" time. I told him he could do an experiment of his choosing and that he needed to make a list of the supplies he would need. I was willing to have him narrate it to me, but he wanted to write his list from the items he chose.

The last one is supposed to be Synergy. It is the name brand of the kombucha I was drinking that day. I cringed that it was on his list (I love that stuff and did not want to see it "wasted.") I did give him a little and then told him that I did not have much left so I asked him if he would mind using raw apple cider vinegar since it is sour, fermented and raw like kombucha. And he agreed. (smile) I also talked him into using the craft salt instead of the Real Salt.

It was hard not to make suggestions. At this point I was thinking that he could make something useful out of it like play dough, but I am glad I did not say anything because this was his experiment.

I asked Mali later to tell me what he was making and he said, "I was making a big river. That river is called the Water Atlantic."

"The other one was Gigantic Water." He told me that the mound was a volcano.

A big bowl of warm soapy water made play more fun (for Elli for sure).

It was not important that he make anything. It is the process, not the end result that matters.

This project was inspired by Mali's love to create and make messes and also the book Tumbling Over the Edge: A Rant For Children’s Play. In this book, children are encouraged to be children and be given the chance to explore, create, make messes and learn through play. I have been reading and using this book for a couple years now and pulling it off the shelf always helps me to put things back into their proper perspective. They are little. They will learn. And now is the best time to remember this. I don't ever want to stifle his creative learning process just because it is not the way I would do it. And I want learning to be delight directed!

Mali turns five tomorrow. I want to treasure this time and remember little details like this. It is such a part of his little personality and I am excited to see how he will grow, when given the room to grow. . . and make messes . . . with my help!

Delightful Links:

Science Sunday