On my way home from dropping the kids off at school, I told Bean, the preschooler, that I would be doing yard work. I offered for him to join me or play nicely inside. He politely declined the yard work. I began working. It wasn’t until he heard the steady “chink, chink, chink” of the ax that he came out to see what was going on. We tore out a large olive tree last spring and over the summer it grew back to the size of a large bush. This tree is my nemesis, and it needed to go. I was digging around and chopping at roots when Bean found me.

Could he help? Clearly not. My adult mind instantly thought this was no job for a kid. But he wanted to dig. He dragged over a small but still full-sized shovel and began helping me dig.
He found rocks to throw. He made a discovery which he called “dirt rocks.” Dirt clumps that exploded like fireworks when thrown against the ground. We found an ant colony. He discovered roots (the outside of the roots were colored bright red; weird) and he mostly enjoyed exploring.
Did he help? No, but he was entertaining and encouraging. When I told him I wasn’t strong enough for the work, he confidently suggested that I was and that I had “100 muscles” to use. Did I finish? Nope. I got through a small- and medium-sized root. There is still one large and one massive root. I’m leaving those for Dustin to enjoy.
Sometimes “play time” shows up when you very least expect it.

Author Kylee Smith

Kylee is the mom of four amazing kids and provides entertainment design and innovation services at Playful Ventures.

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