Children need space to make discoveries on their own even when we know that something they are trying to do is probably not going to work (e.g., holding back the tide!).
There are definitely times when we can give children the benefit of our years of experience by engaging in conversations with them about why something they're trying will or will not work. However, you can't beat hands-on experience when it comes to learning.
When we were at the beach recently, I had to check myself from jumping up and explaining to our youngest son why it was extremely difficult to build a dam when the tide was coming in. After all, I knew that water would quickly erode his hard work.
Thankfully, however, I caught myself in time and stood back.
He was happy digging in the water and was learning a lot at the same time. The water did erode his sand banks and this was something he discovered all by himself without me stepping in to explain it to him. But more than that, he used all his senses to learn about the properties of water and sand and what happens when the two come together.
He also engaged in a multitude of sensory experiences that he otherwise would have missed if I'd eagerly jumped in there - even though I was only trying to help.
To be honest, he didn't need my input or my help. He was happy playing and building and rebuilding. I was happy watching him learn.
Sometimes, children just need space to find out all by themselves. Now if only I could remember this more often!
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