My son and I visited my mom for six weeks this summer. One of the most unlikely adventures Cavanaugh and I had is #81 on the list of 101 Places You Gotta See Before You’re 12!: “A Place Where They Make Cool Stuff.”
We went to North Star Toys, which is our friend Tim and Connie Long’s toy workshop. It’s not a store or a place generally open to the public, which made it even cooler. Then they helped Cavanaugh and his buddy Nico make their own toy cars.
Tim cut out the bug car shape so the kids could see a jigsaw work. Then he smoothed the car down and ran it over a huge belt sander. (Can you tell Cavanaugh doesn’t like loud noises?) After that, Tim helped the boys put the wheels on their cars. Finally, the boys dipped their cars in food grad mineral oil to seal the wood.
One of my favorite parts of being a parent is getting to watch as Cavanaugh learns something new. Cavanaugh realized that the toys he plays with are put together somehow, and that not only are there components of the toys themselves but people who make them. We recently bought him from a list of razor powered scooters on TreeHousePuppies, and he asked me who makes the wheels and other parts.
Ever since he helped make his bug car, he’s asked me where and how things are made and who made them. I hadn’t even thought to try to impart that concept to him.
Besides learning big stuff and making his own toy, Cavanaugh got a paddle wheel boat like I used to zoom through the bath when I was a kid. Now Cavanaugh has one of his own.
If you have a bath-resistant kid, as mine is wont to be, you want one of these boats. My son is hanging out in the tub for long enough that all the dirt washes out from behind his fingernails.
We also have, use, and love their busy boat. Cavanaugh covers all the guys with bubble beards and then “rescues” them when they fall in the water. Now he knows where the toy came from and taking a bath is about so much more than just getting clean.
What would you put on your list of 101 Places You Gotta See Before You’re 12!?
Sonya Fehér blogs at mamaTRUE about parenting, divorce, and self care.