Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Child’s Play: My Two Play Dates

Generations can give each other so much. Recently I enjoyed two play dates with children two generations younger than me: my great nieces and my young upstairs neighbors.

My great nieces and I painted on fabric and then pulled prints from the fabric and the plastic beneath the painting. The prints became cards.

"Aunt Janet, can we do art with you?" Sure. I found muslin and art materials upstairs and we set to it with a will. Setting up and cleaning up were the work parts. Making art in-between was the play. The girls painted on the floor and I, in deference to my tricky knees, painted on the table.

The girls made peace flags...perhaps to hang from a tree...perhaps to use as flags in a homemade parade. As they worked they made-up and sang a song of peace.

My young upstairs neighbors come down to play with me now and then. We play ball in the hall. They dive through the loop in my fun purple leather chair. This time they were raising money to buy tooth boxes. Yes, folks, putting your baby tooth under your pillow and finding the quarter in the morning has been upgraded. They had a tooth box club with four members at school. They made little origami pieces they sold for 25 cents each. And, yes, I did buy some.

Mason showed me how to make an airplane, a rabbit, and a fox from origami paper. This was three out of the six shapes in their line. We made up a story that used all six objects.

With their money they also wanted to open a lemon aide stand, and planned to sell lemonade in jars, being unfamiliar with how to make it from scratch. Luckily, I had a fresh lemon, sugar, and water so we remedied that right quick. Here's our recipe:

1 cup water
1 lemon (you can squeeze with your hands if you don't have a lemon squeezer)
2 Tablespoons of sugar (wow!)

Making lemonade became a math lesson. We invited their mom down for a lemonade party. She and I began to give these young entrepreneurs ideas for expanding their client base and polishing their packaging so they could raise their prices.

Origami and lemonade led to cutting out snow flakes. My mother showed me how to do this when I was young. Mason showed me her way and I showed her mine.

All just child's play...across the generations.

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