Tuesday, October 13, 2009

thinking out loud

Kind of. I guess we need a blog-appropriate phrase for that. "Thinking at keyboard." Maybe that works.

A couple weeks ago was General Conference (wow, I guess it was only about 1 1/2 weeks ago, but it feels like much longer). It was my first attempt to actually involve the kids. In the past I was happy if they stayed out of my hair and managed to be relatively self-entertaining. I would tune every radio to conference, so it was playing wherever they were, but I liked to do my own thing and let them do theirs. This year I felt it was important for them to participate more, so I did a few things differently. I found some great Conference Bingo sheets, and also these Apostle Cards which I printed off and laminated. I also printed off some pages from various Conference packets--the most used page was the one where the kids could color the ties of each of the Apostles as they saw them. Pretty fun. Anyways, though it took more effort on my part both before and during the conference, I really felt like the effort was worth it to have the kids participate in Conference. As a child, I was allowed to bring toys in to the family room to play with quietly on the floor while the family watched, and I remember those times. I've always felt like Conference is a very important time, and I think it is because there was always the expectation to watch/listen to all the sessions. I want my kids to grow up with that, too. They did really enjoy the bingo sheets, and they earned treats for getting BINGO on both their Saturday and Sunday boards. So it's definitely something we'll do again.

We watched the Sunday session with David's family down in Springville. Since we don't have a TV subscription, we ended up watching Saturday's sessions in the office on my computer. Not nearly as comfortable as in our family/TV room, but at least the screen was a decent size. (I love my big monitor!) Between sessions the TV was on and there were commercials for various toys. Noodle said, "It's a good thing we don't have TV, otherwise we'd just want all these toys that they show on commercials." I thought that was rather an astute observation, and think it is very true. We do watch movies and a handful of cartoons, but we are spared from commercials. It's pretty great, really. It's hard enough for kids to be grateful and satisfied when they aren't constantly bombarded with commercials for the latest cool toy or trendy idea. My mom likes to say, "The play should be in the child, not the toy." I firmly believe this. I don't think this means only wooden or simple toys are appropriate (you should see the creative things Spud comes up with for his Transformers!), but rather that a toy should invite the child to use their imagination and not only have scripted play. One thing that Noodle does that I love is to "accessorize" all her toys. Shemakes houses for them, food out of Sculpey clay, beds, blankets, vehicles, musical instruments, etc. Plus she will write letters to/from the toy, illustrate scenes from their lives, construct a family tree, and on and on. Last week was our week off school and I sewed Noodle & Spud each a cute little plush mouse. It's pretty neat to watch how much fun they can have with one toy. Spud likes to build aircraft for his mouse from the Magformers.

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