Thursday, May 16, 2013

Backhoe Loader

Photo from
I am that mom - the one who let's her kid bring his truck(s) to the park to play in the sand, the rocks, and the wood chips. About a week ago I sat on the edge of the sand pit and watched as yet another child approached Mikey to inquire about his truck. That day he had brought along "Scoop," the backhoe loader. Scoop has been in our family for two years, since before it was age appropriate, and shows all the signs of a well-loved toy. The buttons do not induce noise or motion as they were designed to do. The front boom lost the ability to hold itself upright a long time ago. The tires have been stripped from the wheels.

Mikey's new playmate toddled up and asked, "what does your truck do?" Mikey replied, "It is a backhoe." Surely that would be enough explanation, right? The child bent over and pushed on the bright red buttons and said, "it is broken," and walked away. Mikey watched the little boy walk away. Then he looked down at Scoop and proceeded to use the front loader bucket and the backhoe to scoop and move sand around. I imagined Mikey thinking, "broken? Nope, Scoop still works. See him scoop and lift and dump."

That little incident brought up a lot of feelings for me. I felt proud that Mikey doesn't depend on lights and buttons to enjoy a toy. It reinforced my inclination to toys without buttons or lights. And unexpectedly it made me feel comfortable in the media that supports Mikey's preschool engineering education.

Books are a well-accepted form of media. Not many people dispute that if you enjoy to read and you read with your child then you are both better for it. Our favorite books about backhoe loaders are "Scoop " from the Bob the Builder series, "Dig Dig Digging " which includes many other trucks, too, and "Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? "

Screen Time
Screen time is more controversial. Experts agree that too much screen time too early can cause delays in speech. It also disorganizes the person playing/enjoying the screen. Maybe you've noticed that feeling of being "goggled in" to a computer or TV while you are surfing, creating, or playing. I certainly have. But I also know that there is learning to be done that only a computer/TV/tablet can support. To this end, I allow my preschooler and my toddler limited screen time and you should see them surf YouTube!

Mikey likes to looks for new videos of trucks, dominos, marble run, and par kour. Anna loves to see dogs performing agility tricks. When they surf the internet with me, each of my children sees things they would otherwise not get a chance to see. Case in point - a backhoe loader. Perhaps Mikey's little playground "friend" wouldn't have thought that Scoop was broken if he knew what jobs backhoes have to do.

Here is a link to the Twenty Trucks song about a backhoe. Take a look, learn something new, and share the video and the song with a preschool engineer near you!

Shop around and see what you find. But don't be afraid to let an expensive toy "break."

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