Have you found the wonderfulness of water beads yet? Seriously, they are AMAZING!! They are such a wonderful sensory experience for all ages (even adults). I love them just as much as J does!
However….I had a bit of a problem finding a good place to set J up to play with them.
I started him off sitting at the table. It started out ok, until…he found that moving his hand back and forth really quickly caused the beads to jump out of the bowl. He loved watching them bounce out and onto the table and floor.
I normally wouldn’t mind a mess, but we have cats, and they love things that can be batted around and that roll….like water beads! I was afraid that they might ingest them, so I found myself on the floor scrambling to pick up water beads instead of enjoying my son’s play….and getting a bit frustrated.
So…I moved him upstairs and put the beads on the light table.
This was a bit more successful, but we have carpet upstairs and after more than a few water beads got smushed into the carpet, my blood pressure had had enough. I was getting frustrated at this point. It was either take the beads away completely because he couldn't keep them inside the container, or find a way he could play with the beads however he wanted to without adding extra stress to my life.
So…I moved him into the bathroom sink! He already plays there with bubbles almost every day, and it’s a perfect way of containing a mess. I added some sea animals to enhance the play a bit.
Finally I had found the perfect place to play with water beads! We could shut the cats out of the room and there wasn't carpet for the beads to get smushed in.
I could have just taken away the beads at the table when he chose to make them fall on the floor, but I chose to find a way to make it work.
I debated with myself about that decision. You see, I want my son to listen and be well behaved. Children learn to listen by parents being consistent and following through with things they ask their children to do. In terms of obeying, I should have taken them away when he chose to not stop making the beads fall on the floor.
But, I didn’t do that this time because I wanted him to have meaningful play experience. So, I found a way to make it work for the both of us.
I still question myself on the decision I made that day. Maybe I should have taken them away for not listening.
But, he would have missed out on the wonderfulness of water beads and I never would have found the perfect place to play with them.
This is why being a parent is difficult sometimes…the questioning of yourself.
What would you have done?