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Yes folks, the 2012 Summer Olympics is over. The closing ceremony is all done in England but that doesn’t mean that the Olympics are truly over. After watching a number of Olympic events, my child has invented her very own Olympic sport. Ladies and gentleman, folks around the world, cast your eyes on the first ever Dart Olympics 2012.
I was absolutely floored and impressed when my 6 year old bundle of wonder came up to me and explained the instructions for Dart Olympics. You must, from a set distance, throw your clothespin (ie. the ‘dart’) into the upturned stool. You only get 3 ‘darts’. If you get all 3 darts in, you get gold. If you get 2 darts in, you get silver and if you get 1 dart in, you get bronze. Of course, if you don’t get any darts in, you get nothing.
I asked her how she came up with the game, she just kind of shrugged and said, “I just did”. The best part of her Dart Olympics of course, is that not only do you get a gold, silver, or bronze, but you also get a toy too! If you get gold, your toy is bigger and if you get bronze, then you get a small toy.
Now, to the untrained eye, this may just seem like everyday fluff but this is also a prime example of all the brainpower involved in children’s play. For one, my kid had to come up with those rules all by herself. Once you come up with the rules, it only works if you can hold on to and follow those rules. Otherwise, play disintegrates and there is no Dart Olympics.
So, in this one little Dart Olympics, my kid has is using her working memory to keep all the rules and details in order. Get 3 darts in and you get gold and the biggest toy but if you get only 2 darts in, you get a silver medal and a medium sized toy and don’t forget you have to stand at a certain distance and throw a certain way to get it into the upturned stool. Ah, that means you have to focus and target your throw or you’ll never get any darts in to that one small isolated section. So you see, it’s not as easy as it first seems.
This little game of Dart Olympics also highlights the importance of letting children explore open ended materials in unconventional ways. So long as she’s safe, I’m perfectly fine with her using materials in whatever she wants to. Sure, I could have stepped in and told her that the clothespins aren’t ‘darts’ and that they’re not for throwing. But, she was safe with them (after all, she was aiming it at a non-living object and not at anything breakable) so why not? If I had intervened, Dart Olympics in my home wouldn’t even exist.
For the learning and the creativity involved, I am most proud to be a supporter of the 2012 Dart Olympics even though I have yet to win any medals!
Question: what open ended materials are available in your home for your child to explore?
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