I recently wrote in the post “Learning from my toddler how to practice mindfulness with curiosity” that my 2-year old and I do a weekly walk right before music class. During our walks, she creates her own adventure- intrigued by the smallest ordinary things on our walk. On one of our most recent walks, we stumbled upon several rocks in front of an office building. And as is typical of my daughter’s fascinating exploration, she saw the bed of rocks and immediately stopped to inquire about them, to look at them and pick them up. She found one rock that she thought was “bumpy” and I realized that we could start an impromptu mindfulness game to focus on our sense of touch and sight.
I asked her to find different color rocks, shapes and textures, and we began just collecting the rocks into different piles. We found bumpy white rocks, gray smooth ones, reddish ones and even round rocks that she thought were balls. She loved finding the right match for her little piles and was laser-beam focused on the hunt. With each new find, we intently looked at and felt each rock to make sure it was the right fit for each group. My 2-year old had a total blast from an activity so simple and what most of us “bigs” would consider pretty boring.
Afterwards I realized that we only organically stumbled upon this game because we took the time to slow down and just be. For that short period of time, we had no agenda, no worries but to just enjoy our walk. I’ve been past rock-beds so many times in front of buildings and office parks, but never have I realized that we could create a spontaneous fun game from something so “ordinary.” As parents, we often spend so much time and money on toys and things for our kids, but there’s so much that we can play with in our natural world if we just pause for a moment to do so. Once again my 2-year old continues to teach me how “unordinary” our life can be…only if we let it.