We had a visitor the other night.
My 3-year-old nephew sleptover our home without his parents for the very first time. And I thought it was a great opportunity for my 11-month-old and him to bond together.
When he arrived from school that afternoon, we talked about what he wanted to do. I offered him choices. Did he want to visit a nearby gym play area? Or did he want to stay home? Did he want to eat already, or wait until dinner?
He chose to visit the nearby gym area, where he and my son played for an hour. You can see their photos HERE.
When we got home, they bonded in our room – until they both fell so sleepy and slept beside each other.
By early morning, both of them were up. And seeing that my son has been so into his broom nowadays, my nephew wanted to use the broom, too.
“Let’s use the broom outside!”, he claimed!
I did a quick sweep of what the garden looked like, and it was the perfect time to do some cleaning work! The Santol tree outside our house had a lot of fallen leaves! We don’t have fall season in this country, though it certainly felt like it!
I saw this as the perfect opportunity to introduce a rake to my nephew. It’s a good thing I bought a really nice child-sized garden set when we were in the US. It’s never too early to buy these things – because once the opportunity knocks, I won’t have time to shop on Amazon and have it delivered in this side of the world anymore, haha.
Seriously though, everything changes when you have child-sized versions of everything – so many things you thought wasn’t possible could easily be done or introduced, since the pieces fit perfectly in their little bodies and they don’t feel like dwarves living in a city where everything is giant-sized. They feel included, and they can do what adults do, which is what they’re trying to emulate in the first place. With child-sized pieces, we constantly communicate that they are important and are valued, and tasks like this one may be shared and enjoyed by the whole family.
“When we’re in the garden and we want to collect and take out the leaves, we use a rake.”, I told my nephew.
“Why is Pablo using a broom?“, he asked. He really is in a sensitive period for asking the reason for things.
“Because we only have one rake and it is still too big for him. Plus it has sharper edges than his broom, so he can practice with the broom first, and when he’s older like you, we can move on to the rake.“
“Why do we have to clean the leaves?”, my nephew added.
Remind me to have Google beside me when I have a toddler already. Haha. Kidding aside though, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to talk about life cycles, and how plants work. Though yes, I still needed Google to back me up with my claims. LOL.
My son decided to sit and explore the leaves!
My nephew, on the other hand, didn’t know whether he wanted to use the rake as a rake, or imagine it was some sort of sword.
I just let them. I would just remind my nephew from time to time that since the rake has sharp edges that could hurt others, we always keep that side on the ground.
The work cycle: my nephew would place some leaves in the wagon, then my son would get a few and study them. Haha. After a while though, my son started getting leaves and putting them in the wagon, too. All by observing his Kuya.
After a while, my nephew’s interest shifted – instead of using the rake, he preferred using his hands to collect them and putting them in the wagon himself. I let him. A great alternative, if you ask me!
My son, on the other hand, preferred putting all the gathered leaves back where they came from. 😀
In reality, not much leaves were raked.
But that’s not the point for this first-time activity. It was really to introduce what a rake is, what it’s used for, and because of my nephew’s questions, to talk about life cycles for my nephew, and well, just pure exploration and gross and fine motor activity for my son. 🙂