Volcanoes In The Closet

by Mary Ann on June 1, 2010

Recently I shared an email that I received from a very excited mom. She had purchased some dollar items at Target that her kids loved. She saw some insect items and got them for the closet. Her point was that it doesn’t take a lot of money to really inspire children and give them very exciting learning experiences. She is absolutely right about that.I happened to be in the neighbor hood of a family that I coach so I stopped in just to see how their structured family time was going and how the closet was working out. It was going very well. The mom felt some success and the children loved it.

She shared an experience that they had and I want to share it with you. A while back a volcano erupted in Iceland. It has been causing quite a few problems in the world and people are stranded in airports and can’t get home. This mom gathered her children around the computer and showed them pictures of the volcano and they talked about what was happening. They talked about the chunks and crystals of ice that were being blown into the air. They talked about how a volcano could have ice in it. What was it doing to planes and so forth?

A few days later she found a children’s book on Pompeii at a garage sale and bought it and put it into the Closet. Her children were entranced. Imagine an entire city buried in ash. They wanted to know all about it. Later she was telling her mom about their school day only to find out that mother had a book that actually showed pictures of the excavated city and its inhabitants. That found its way into the closet. The children poured over the pictures. I suspect they talked about how scary it was, the fact that the people were not prepared, that they couldn’t run away. (A garage sale and a mother aren’t necessary to carry out this step. The public library will work)

Then some soda and vinegar found its way into the closet and the children had fun making a volcano and watching it erupt. Can you see how one spark, one idea can just keep going on and on.

I might have added all the supplies to make individual emergency bags the next week. I would have talked about being prepared, how our family should be prepared. I might have talked about being prepared in other situations like a fire. We might have agreed to have an “in the middle of the night” fire drill to practice what we should do if there ever was a fire. (My mom used to do that with us) I might have suggested that we pretend that we don’t have electricity for 24 hours and see what that would be like. I did that with my family of nine and it was hoot I can tell you!

The Closet is a great tool to get something really going and then see it mushroom into something else. The more you focus on what is happening around you and what your children are thinking about and like the more ideas you will have. The more you practice this “focus” the more ideas you will have. The time will come when you won’t be able to use all the ides that you have. That is a great place to be!

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