child’s play

Littlest King of the Hill

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.

Fred Rogers

Rain or

When the weather is cold and rainy, as was the last week of January here in San Diego, grandparents get creative at entertaining. We have a spare room that is full of pre-school-age toys, books, games and even collapsible tunnels and such. Spending a few hours with our grandchild to help our kids run errands, when its not really park weather, is no problem. We practice identifying shapes, singing songs, practice counting numbers to 10 and building ‘kinetic sand’ things. We chase soap bubbles. At Pop-pop’s house twenty years of kids, dogs, and now grandchildren have done no harm to the tile floors. After a little dinner of Pop-pop’s home-made soup, and not five minutes into the car to go home, the little boy was fast-asleep.


The old song about it never raining in Southern California (Albert Hammond ’72), is not entirely accurate. Still, I did not really expect the first weeks of January to be summer-like at 91F. These are the times to go to the Santee Lakes park. We bring duck food to feed the feathered mob which entertains our grandson. We have to watch as he tosses the corn not very far away from his feet, eyeing the Canada geese that are bold enough to peck the smaller ones under(webbed)foot. But then it is time to play. With parents still maintaining a COVID eye on their little ones, the few parents and their small children trade off using the playground. Watching another child use the slide or climb the little jungle gym, Zander nods when he wants Pop-pop to hoist him up and then catch him going down the slide. A few weeks ago, after a dozen hoists, Pop-pop would suggest he was ready for a nap. However, this week it seems Pop-pop is getting in shape running after Zander across a little bridge to realistic-looking boulders. He directs me to climb up and for Mam-mam to hoist him up becoming King of the Hill. Then Mam-mam, sensing me slowing down, suggests we all go get a cookie. And a nap for Pop-pop.

Playtime is the best work of the week.


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