On the last day of work we were working like maniacs to clean every inch of our room, toys, furniture, walls, yard etc. There was no point feeling guilty about the lack of attention we were giving the children because there are only so many hours in a day and what has to be done, has to be done. In the process of cleaning we made a lot of mess, so the children were left to fend for themselves amongst a sprawling display of Duplo, instruments, and random plastic toys laid out on the floor. The Duplo was left because they insisted on us leaving it, the instruments because despite my loathing of noise they continue to bash away at them at all hours of the day, and the random toys because who knew what to do with them. It was easier to just tip them out onto the floor.
I asked the children if they'd like to wash some toys, thinking they'd love it. Water is involved, and when you don't want them to play with it (like in the middle of winter) they always find a way to sneak away and do it. We had small success with several children who managed to wash some toys for a matter of minutes, but most remained uninterested. "You can get wet!" I said, hoping the others would like to help. "You can get as wet as you want, it's hot!", I said to no avail. So we continued to clean like maniacs while they continued to play happily with the sprawling mess on the floor.
At one point I looked over and saw about eight children sitting in groups of twos or threes completely involved in constructing with Duplo. "Look how engaged they are!" I said to someone. It never ceases to amaze me how they can engage themselves with so little, so I'm constantly annoying people by mentioning it. Afterall children aren't supposed to be able to do that these days. And Duplo? I would have thought they'd be beyond that at four years old. With the exception of one particular helper who was washing toys for me at 5.30 that afternoon, most of the children continued to play, making as much mess as they could get away with until their parents took them home and left us to clean more.
Kids just wanna have fun, and who can blame them? They'll be working for the rest of their lives. And how cute are they when they're engaged in play and oblivious to everything around them? And who says they should be playing with something more complex then Duplo at four years old? Maybe they loved being able to play on the floor and not being told to keep the toys on the table. And what if they bash away at instruments with big grins on their faces when we want peace and quiet and get all wet in the middle of winter? We can only attempt to control their instincts to do whatever it is they want. Kids just wanna have fun, (and remember) it's only kindergarten.