Sunday, April 28, 2013

Duct Tape and Free Time

Sometimes I am concerned that a lack of free time in general is going to produce fewer inventors in our kids' generation. Overly structured time leads to less idle brain noodling, right? Seems logical.

I am less worried today than I was before, because if there are more kids like my youngest out there, we should be just fine. I came upstairs this Sunday morning, after watering the garden, to find her deep in the middle of a serious activity.

I thought she had gone up to the playroom to watch TV, but I heard her talking to herself in what sounded like a judge’s scoring explanation. Seated in a corner of the playroom (she must have had to shovel a clear space first) she had a piece of paper and pen and a ton of duct tape rolls. They were all different patterns and colors.

As I got closer, I could see it wasn't haphazard. It rarely is with her. She was rolling the duct tape rolls to see how far they would go. She then was pairing up the rolls with like distances and scoring the distances of their combined rolls. She was keeping careful track of the results on her paper.

“I'm doing an experiment,” she said, not looking up at me but sensing my presence. “I’m seeing how far the different duct tapes will roll and which ones will roll the farthest.”

She kept going with her experiment.

“They have different amounts of tape on them so they roll different distances,” she explained as she rolled.

“Ah,” I said.

“This is very confusing because this rolled a two and that rolled a two and that rolled an 8 and that rolled an 8 so now they have to verse each other. These two rolled a five so they have to verse each other. Wait, I'm losing track. Add that to that and they got a 13 and that got a seven. Oh wait, orange and pink got seven and four so they got an eleven! I have to see which got third now.”

All in one breath without looking up. Impressive.

“First place is orange and pink, second is denim and Hello Kitty, third place is zebra, cheetah and rainbow, and last place is purple and grey.”

I was pretty impressed by her tracking skills.

“It took some thinking to add up all their rolls,” she said with a sigh. “The orange and pink have the least tape on them and they have less weight and rolled further.”

She made some marks on the paper.

“The grey and purple have the most tape and the most weight so they didn't roll very far.”

She is seven, ya'll.

Like I said before, I'm not as worried as I was before.

Have a great week!

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