All Adults Should Have a Spark Station

by Mary Ann on May 8, 2010

When we think of the Spark Station we think of core phase and love of learning phase, children ages 0 to about 12. That leads us to thinking about homeschooling and the parents who are engaged in that process. However, I want to talk about the broader uses for the Spark Station.

Of course I have a Spark Station and it is cool. I also have another space where I store toys, puzzles and games that we can use any time. I adhere to the 5 Rules of Engagement that make the Spark Station successful.

1. Structure time not content

2. Be present

3. Make it special – the contents are used only during a special structured time each day

4. Keep it simple. When you add an item remove an item to keep it manageable, as well as exciting

5. Plan

I suggest that every person who has children who visit them have a Spark Station. For one thing it’s just plain cool. Wouldn’t you like to visit a relative, babysitter or friend who had a container full of wonderful things to interact with and that it was so special you only got to use it at special times? Sure you would! It would make going to that persons home a delightful prospect.

Secondly, if you are the older person, the single person, or even the younger babysitting person (didn’t you ever have a babysitting bag!) who needed to deal with one or more children over a few hours to a few days, the Spark Station would really help you keep your sanity. No really, I love children but my grandchildren can wear me right out. I don’t want to be running after them all the time. Sometimes it is so refreshing to sit down and watch them cut, color, paste and glue. Their concentration is exhilarating and I usually just get right into it with them. I love gathering them around me and reading a good book while they sew or string beads or some other quite activity. And I like talking about places and people and things that interest me and that also interest them. The Spark Station makes that all possible.

Third, parenting is hard! Don’t you remember when you were a parent? Weren’t their days when you just knew you weren’t giving them enough, when you worried that home was a bit boring or when frankly, you really needed a break? We have all felt that as parents. So it’s wonderful to have relatives or friends who help us out with this job that is overwhelming at times.

It would be terrific to know that when your kids are at grandma’s they might be making Indian masks and talking about igloos or hunting or some ancient culture. It would be great to know that at Aunt Marge’s they will be sure to make some beautiful jewelry while listening to Robinson Crusoe or some other great book. It would be a relief if while you were getting that break you needed your sitter was inspiring your kids with some great math game or science project. This remarkable community effort can only happen on behalf of parents and children when those who aren’t their parents prepare ahead and have the resources. So I want to spread the word about the Spark Station because it is a simple tool that anyone can put together and use for the benefit of children and their parents.

In the next blog I want to introduce you to Grandparent letters. If you have parents or older friends that play that role for your children you will want them to read this!!

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