Stones. Everywhere stones. In pockts, in the washing machine, in the car. No matter where we go or what we do, stones get brought home by the boys.
At lunchtime the other day Number Two announced he had brought a few handfuls of gravel home from the playground we had visited on Sunday. Would I please play with him and make people out of the stones? he asked.
It was one of those occasions where it was on the tip of my tongue to say no, but then I mentally slapped the back of my hand, gave myself a shake and told myself to play with my child.
I am so glad I did. We told stories, made pictures and, most importantly, had fun together. Just the two of us. And he needs that. In fact, I do too. He’s growing up so fast. In a few months he’ll be a schoolboy and playing with his mammy won’t hold the same appeal it does now.
As we played, I noticed how tricky it was to pick up the little pieces of gravel. The longer we played, the easier it got. So it seems like a great way to improve fine motor skills.
Verbal skills can also be trained by making up stories of the pictures you create. Number Two made two little figures which, he informed me, were knights.
Then he equipped them with swords and shields. We built hills for them to stand on to keep watch and a sun to shine down on them. Then a dragon crept up on the knights, so we built a castle for them to retreat to.
It was all so easy. So fuss free. No mess, spilled water or stains on clothes. Just creativity, imagination, an improved pincer grip and twosomeness. And a jar of gravel for the next time.