A lot of green fun with a little junk
This is a picture of the one of the new prototypes being tested by GM now that the government is running the company.
A couple of weeks ago we took our three kids to a children’s museum near our home. This particular children’s museum is not really a “museum” with static displays and plaques to read, rather it is a place for children to explore with their hands. There is something for almost every level of childhood. Seven month crawlers up through ten year-olds can find plenty to do.
Our two-year old boy spend most of his time playing in a life-sized fire truck complete with flashing lights and real fireman gear. Our four-year old girl spent all of her time in a kid-sized grocery store and kitchen, purchasing fake food, cooking it and then serving it to the customers.
Our six-year old kindergartner wanted to play with junk.
She led me over to a row of cubicles that housed simple tools and fasteners and asked me to help her make something out of junk. Along the back wall were a dozen or so bins full of empty, but clean milk cartons and plastic fruit containers. There was cardboard tubing and food boxes of every shape and size. There were small, odd-shaped pieces of wood and bins of full of yogurt cartons and egg cartons. We soon commenced on the project that you see above.
The museum personnel had placed directions for various projects throughout the area, but we soon figured out that the pieces of junk pictured in the directions did not necessarily match up with the junk that we had available on that particular day. It turned out that the product of our labor did not look like anything in any of the pictures.
We were limited to the tools at hand. Some of the tools and fasteners were not ideal for their application, so it challenged our resourcefulness and creativity. I guided the entire process, but I always encouraged my daughter try to solve a particular problem before stepping in with an answer. The pipe cleaner windshield wipers were all her idea.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending this hour with my child and observing her mind and hands at work. I delighted in watching her try to solve the problems posed by trying to reconcile the limits of the tools and materials at hand with her unlimited imagination. I could tell that she was experiencing a great sense of accomplishment as that little car took shape and seeing her excitement with the finished product brought a great feeling of satisfaction to me. Working with a pile of junk turned out to be a great way to spend an hour with my daughter.
The biggest surprise for me was when we arrived at home and my daughters ignored their store-bought dolls and other perfectly molded toys in favor of playing with two plastic strawberry containers bolted together with brass brads and milk carton caps for wheels. For about two weeks that piece of junk occupied a prominent place in their daily play before it completely bit the dust.
Leftover food containers?
One hour of my time?
About $20 (according to my employer)
Leftover food containers plus one hour with my kids?
So, what does this story have to do with money? Why are you reading an article about a homemade art project on blog dedicated to gathering “little by little to make it grow”? The truth is that I am not ready to give the answer right now, I want to see what GLBL readers think first and maybe later today, if you still haven’t figured it out, I will tell you how I think a little junk relates to personal finance.
So, who will be first?