What did she learn that afternoon?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. But, I know that she received a powerful message. And it’s a great one.
She learned that doing “manual labor” with Grandpa is fun. She learned that outside stuff is not just “for boys”. She saw that she is capable and that someone else believes in her and wants to be around her. She saw that it doesn’t matter how small or young she is, she can still “help.” She needed to listen to directions and focus on her task in order to “help.” And, she needed to pay attention to what Grandpa was doing, how he was doing it, and why. This meant that she got to see how he thinks, which is something that’s good for development.
She was able to feel what it’s like to use different muscles and different motions than she normally does. She was able to smell the fresh grass and dirt and felt what it was like to stomp it down. That was an important job, and it probably built up her confidence level a bit (not that she needs it, but feeling confident is always a good thing, right?). She heard different sounds outside (whether she paid attention to them or not, I’m not sure).
She might have learned how to use a rake or a shovel. But, probably not because it was her first time. But, she learned it’s ok to try and not know how to do something, and if something needs to be done, get out there and do it. She got to work with her grandpa and “help” him with something that he was doing. She got to be part of a process and she probably asked a question or two (but only one or two! LOL!!). And, in asking those questions, I’m sure she asked more. And, my dad explained, explained some more, and answered some more. So, she learned new words in the process and had someone else teaching her how to complete a task.
Most of all though, she had fun. Sure, there was lots of learning and other stuff involved, stuff you can’t learn in a classroom or from a tablet or TV, but that are valuable lessons. Real life stuff is learning. Especially when they’re young. And, it’s powerful learning because they’re learning because they’re interested and involved, which means they’ll learn more and remember it longer.
Did my dad mean to teach her all of that? No. He needed to get his sod down, and she was over at their house and wanted to spend time with him. So, what else was he supposed to do, but hand her a rake and have her help where she could? Lol! But, in treating her like she was capable and helping him, he validated her and allowed her to learn by doing. Do 3 year olds need to know how to lay sod? Of course not. But, it was fun with Grandpa and something different than normal. And, the smile on her face after they were done said it all (Thanks, Mom, for capturing such a great picture of them!). She had a blast and wouldn’t have wanted to spend her time doing anything else. Oh, and she baked cookies with Grandma too. 🙂 That’s important as well. 🙂