December 7, 2020
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination!” ~ Albert Einstein
Recently a friend sent me an article from the NY Times, “ A Lesson From the Strange and Lovely World of ‘Leaf Town’.* Basically the article is about a leaf town built by school children because their playground was closed due to Covid. What developed was a whole society with currency (ginkgo leaves), goods (found objects) , homes, etc. All the things a town needs to function. The creativity and imagination these children possessed is very common among my Seedlings, actually it is common among kids throughout the world. From nothing, there is something. Kids are so great at making that happen.
At Avalon the kids and I named an area “Stickland.” It has no specific features, there is no sign, no equipment, just stumps, trees and downed trees. It’s indistinguishable to the average hiker. But the magic which has occurred there over the years, has been full of self-driven creativity. When set free, the kids burn those imagination brain cells and get to work creating homes, military bases, restaurants, stores, ball fields, abstract art, the list is infinite. I do not interfere with their play unless asked or if I see something hazardous. The play spotlight is on them.
Once, I did see a society form in front of my eyes. It took place on a newly downed tree which became the center of a town. Slowly the kids developed currency (acorns), homes , rules and a jail. There is usually a leader and willing participants. Sometimes there is a rule breaker. A complex society formed from eight year old minds. All of this was fleeting, but so meaningful in terms of their development. Leadership, communication, imagination, building, re-imagining when things don’t work, community and cooperation are all at work here. All the qualities they will need as adults are packaged in their play.
In the photo below, these five year olds were determined to ride this giant skateboard down the hill. They climbed on board and rode that bad boy! They laughed, played and felt satisfied. I did nothing but take the photo.
Giving kids opportunities to create, to use their imagination, to play with others is a not only a gift but a necessity for our future. These are the minds of tomorrow. It upsets me to think of all the hours children waste sitting in front of the computer, phone or “playing” video games, using what others have created for them. I say give them sticks, let them meet in person, sit back and watch the magic. I do it for the future of our imagination nation!!!
Get out and Play! Miss Sue