Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"Ready, Guys?"

There are four wheelbarrows on our playground. Yesterday, a boy climbed into the bed of one, leaned a bit too far toward the front and found himself dumped onto the ground. He thought that was hilarious and did it again, then again. After a time, his friends noticed and they crowded around, asking for a turn. He obliged.

Soon, they had mastered the solo tip-and-fall, so began experimenting with two, then three kids per barrow dump. Once they had played the challenge out of that, they explored how they could dump themselves over the sides, a technique that required someone on the outside managing the handles, "Ready, guys?"

When they tried dumping one another toward the handles, they discovered a kind of equilibrium, a sort of wheelbarrow teeter totter with one kid in the bed, while the other put his weight to the handles. The boy in the bed found that he had to shift his weight back and forth for it to work.

After a while, the wheelbarrow wound up fully upside down. They tried sitting on the wheel facing toward the handles. The tried it with two bodies. One boy then turned around to face the wheel, using the wheelbarrow leg supports to support his weight while rapidly spinning the wheel with his feet. Everybody then needed to try that. As they awaited their turns, they found other things to do, such as squeezing under the overturned wheelbarrow bed through the tiny crack between it and the ground.

"Hey guys, look! I'm a turtle with a wheelbarrow shell!"

I laughed at his joke, but no one else did, because by now the rest of them were out of earshot, finished with the wheelbarrow, having moved on to a game involving a small trampoline that was missing three of its six legs.

Someone had installed a stick pony as a lever and as they took turns stepping on the trampoline, he would put his weight to the lever causing them to fall onto the ground. They had crowded around, asking for a turn, and he had obliged.

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