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“What are you trying to do with this empty shoe box? Please stop collecting garbage.” As I tried to remove the box, my 3 year old toddler resisted, “No mamma, see garage for the red car.” And I watched in awe as Baby S successfully converted a seemingly useless box that I would have thrown in the garbage can, into an adorable looking garage for his car while using the cover of the shoe box as a ramp to drive the car out of the box. I was amazed at his creativity. Not only had he managed to find a use for a potential waste product but had also used his problem solving skills to create a ramp to drive his car out! While we as adults are constantly trying to increase the quantity of waste and landfill, our babies are not only able to understand but also showcase how simple and fun recycling can be!
While baby S taught me an important lesson in employing some discretion before discarding things that could be recycled, I realised he was probably ready to learn some more value concepts such as cleanliness. My first few attempts of offering long lectures about cleanliness, good citizenship, and accountability had only served as fantastic lullabies. So I decided to follow my son’s practical and more hands on approach. When after repeated attempts my little rebel refused to pick up his toys and place them in the toy box, I decided to let them stay scattered across his room. He remained defiant the first day but by the second day he realised that it was not only inconvenient to cross an obstacle course all day but also impossible to find his favorite car in all the mess. That night, without any threats or yelling, baby S quietly placed all his toys back in the box. I’ve come to believe that a hands on and practical approach is more powerful than constant nagging.
Whether I’m trying to explain the concept of sharing or more complex values such as the need to take care of the environment, the above approach has allowed me to instill these values in Baby S without being a dictator and by empowering him to discover their significance. If you’re looking to encourage some hands on learning of important values such as recycling, City Sproutz is organizing a creative workshop – Best out of Waste -this weekend, as part of a month long series, at Hamleys, across India. On the 28th, there will be a session to encourage children to create newspaper bags, from 3 to 4 PM. On the 29th, there will be a session from 3 to 4PM on creating wall art from waste materials. Not only that, the session promises further creative stimulation through a Winning Moves competition, from 4 to 5 PM, where kids will be given scrap-book kits and urged to create a unique and beautiful scrap book for their grandparents. It’s a great opportunity to not only bond with your little creative genius but also nurture her imagination and creativity. You can seek more details about the workshop as well as register your child by calling the Hamleys store nearest to you or logging onto the Hamleys Facebook page.
While I encourage my little one to learn important life lessons and values, I make a conscious effort to offer an enriching and positive environment where he feels empowered to take make those decisions.