Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Belt Fans

Picture from beltfans.com.
Children are perceptive. It is their blessing and, sometimes, their curse. At the worst of times, my kids are overwhelmed by all the amazing (and not-so-amazing) things that surround them. They cry, run scared, or freeze in a tantrum. But as they grow up they are learning how to tune out the not-so-amazing things and give their attention to things in order of importance. I feel joyful when Mikey or Anna pulls me aside and exclaims, "Look at what I see!" They slow me down, they remind me to be present in the moment, and they almost always show me something really cool.

During our week-long stay at Crystal Mountain Resort in Michigan we ventured to Frankfort to play at the beach. Frankfort is a little lake town with all the typical trimmings - a marina filled with motor boats and schooners, a main street with shopping and restaurants, and a brewery. Stormcloud Brewing Company looked like a good place for our family to grab an early dinner. It served beer, pizza and popcorn and had a patio. The lot next to the patio was empty and grass-covered and Mikey and Anna made many friends with whom they could run and play while adults enjoyed our drinks. Little did we know that there was a preschool engineering discovery to be made!

I sat at a table outside with Anna while the boys went inside to place our order. Minutes later Mikey exploded onto the patio with all the excitement of having made a discovery. Anna and I toddled inside and followed Mikey's pointing finger to the ceiling. There they were - the most unbelievably cool ceiling fans I had ever seen. The hardware that held the propellers was vintage-cool. The blades were sleek and simple. But the truly remarkable thing about these fans was the motor and the belts. There was a single motor that drove three fans. A belt stretched between the motor and the first fan's base; a second belt stretched between the first fan's base and the second fan's base; then there was another belt and another fan. As the motor turned, the belts moved and all the fans turned. It was a preschool engineer's dream come true!

As my family stood there with our necks craned, other patrons stopped and looked up. People remarked to me that Mikey is so observant and said, "he'll be an engineer." I smiled. I don't really care if Mikey becomes an engineer, an artist, or a race car driver. I just hope that he maintains his curiosity and nurtures his aptitude for being present and perceptive.

If you have the opportunity to design a space in your house for your preschool engineer and you want these fans, here is the site: Fanimation.

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