Friday, November 07, 2014

A Treasure In The Present

Yesterday there was wind and rain in Seattle. Interestingly, and this wasn't evident from the little thumbnail forecast I'd consulted in the morning, it was an either/or proposition. When it was raining it was falling straight down, in buckets, but when the sun broke through so did the wind, gusting impressively.

I'd planned outdoor activities for either eventuality. I got it wrong during our morning session, guessing rain, when it was wind, which swirled and blew our "rain painting" paper and metal cutting supplies with each blow, but I nailed it with the kids who come in the afternoon. We fought the "wind monster" in our art area, which is always fun, but it was the kite making at the workbench that was the biggest hit.

Some time ago, the city of Seattle banned plastic shopping bags altogether, a measure I support, although there are a couple of our favorite activities that require these bags and we've thus been hampered. Whereas not long ago these bags "grew" on trees (and bushes, and chain link fences, and car antenna), they are now rather rare items. I hoard them when they come my way, brought into the city limits by relatives who live across Lake Washington or friends who've been abroad. One of the best things to do with these bags is to take advantage of the very characteristic that got them banned in the first place and use them to make simple, effective kites.

Some of the kids are tying knots in the larger rope we keep around the place, but most aren't tying knots yet, especially with something as small as string, so an adult did that part. The kids were then responsible for making sure their kites (which many of them quite observantly began to call "balloons" due to the bags' tendency to fill with wind) didn't simply blow away and become litter. It was a challenging thing, especially with the sudden fierce gusts that ripped through the place at times requiring us to hold on for dear life, often following through on its threat to yank the thing right out of our hands,leading to a lot of wild chasing of bags that acted as if they really didn't want to be caught.

Between the wind gusts, we made our own wind by running, also wildly, flush-faced. 

Yuri's dad Bill had the idea of making his kite into a parachute by tying a "loose part" figurine to his string and dropping it from the top of the playhouse. They then all wanted to try it.

Most of the kids asked if they could take their kites home: garbage from a different era, a treasure in the present.

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