Monday, February 1, 2016

An Ode to Geomags

Note: No, there are no weekly work plans this week! Near the end of last week, I began to suspect that in my own desire to stay busy to distract myself from my grief over Pappa, I've been over-scheduling the children, as well. I mean, I certainly have less time to feel sad when there's a full day of schoolwork every day AND an hours-long field trip AND a playdate AND a class or extracurricular to drive to AND some time spent shilling for cookie orders on the way there or back.

And the children, my good sports, did actually manage to get most of their schoolwork done, even so, but I began to see them gently reacting to my over-planning in probably the best way that a child can: with play. I'd go to tell them that it was time to begin schoolwork for the day, to find one or both deeply immersed in their toys, and I'd back off. Hours later, there they'd still be, happily playing. You know that I rarely disturb a focused child, so it was certainly the most efficient and least confrontational way for them to get more time for themselves.

We're going to keep that up this week, I think. I'm still going to require the kids to do their math every day, and work on their memory work (Mandarin started again last week!), and I have a selection of odd little projects--another Nature documentary that I've been wanting them to watch, thank-you letters for Christmas presents, extension recipes from Your Kids: Cooking, homemade Valentines for an exchange next week, etc.--of which I'll ask the children to choose one and I'll choose one for them each day, and, of course, there are still plenty of extracurriculars and loads of Girl Scout cookie selling, but ideally, this project-focused week will give us a chance to rest, reset, and refocus on next week.

One of the toys that was played with the most last week was the Geomags. I think that I've written about these before, and that's because they're perennial favorites, one of the few toys that have been loved right out of the box and universally for years.

They're pricey as hell, but totally worth it for us, since they're also played with so well. Every now and then, I'll add to the kids' collection for some holiday or other--Syd, for instance, received the pink Geomags set one Christmas, and I think another Christmas brought them the professional set. Here's basically what we have so far:

Several weeks ago, the kids became interested in using the Geomags to build anti-gravity and "perpetual motion" machines, inspired in great part by this anti-gravity spinner and this perpetual motion machine. Syd worked on building a triangular prism that would sit suspended inside this cube construction--

--while Will actually got her anti-gravity spinner to work!

The kids are both also really interested in building pyramids--when we first got these Geomags, and for years afterwards, they'd build a simple pyramid that they could transform into a "scooter dog," and they'd make it and then play pretend games with it. I haven't seen scooter dog in a long time, but I have seen several of these lying around:

No, she's not sleeping. She's just lying on the floor, chilling out and thinking thoughts.
Another interesting thing that I've noticed lately is Syd's desire to sort the metal marbles on top of the colored panels. I'm not sure what she's exploring with this, but she does it over and over, so something fascinating must be going on with it in her brain:

For the kids' next birthdays, I'm pretty sure that I'll be giving at least one of them a new Geomag set, as I've been noticing that the kids have sometimes been using ALL of the Geomags in their constructions. Here are my top contenders:

Right now, coloring books are also on the birthday wish-lists, as right this second, finished with two brief playdates with friends (while their moms and I sorted Girl Scout cookies) and our volunteer gig, procrastinating on her math, and about to be asked to help me make dinner, Syd is once again sitting at the table, listening to Harriet the Spy on audiobook and coloring.

She's just as busy as she needs to be.


Tina said...

Being busy is good, but recognizing that your over-busy is even better. I wish I had words that would help with the grief, but I suck at that sort of thing.

We have been eyeballing Geomags for a while. I would like to pick up a "Welcome to Michigan," gift for Emma, maybe this would be a good one.

How did Syd like Harriet the Spy? Emma has listened to all of them many, many, times and I remember when I was a kid sitting in the cemetery that was near my house and spying on people (yeah, not at all weird or creepy) and filling notebooks worth of happenings.

julie said...

Syd has TOTALLY been Harriet the Spying! It's pretty cute, although now she's on a major The Borrowers kick.

And soon the Month of Busy will be finished! I am VERY much hoping that on March 2, I'll be in serious lounge-mode.