It's really difficult these days to keep children occupied with things other that technology. Now matter how much you try to inspire their imagination they are drawn back to cartoons, looking on the internet or playing a games console.
Did I make a mistake by getting an Nintendo WII for my little boy for Christmas? In some ways, no, as it is helping him develop a better understanding of winning and losing which at nearly 9 years old he still struggles with. But it is at a price, he could sit there all day and play his Mario Karts without a care or what's going on in the world outside.
I have always used his interests to develop his learning, in this case I was just lucky. I came across a Forum totally dedicated to making what they call 'Bead Sprites' out of Hama beads. The members discuss and show their creations, mainly characters from games and cartoons. Before I had found this site, prior to Christmas I had made Jesse a flower and a mushroom from one of the Mario games, I'm sure he could tell you the exact game it came from by the colours I used.
So imagine his delight when I showed him this site I had found. He explored it then decided which character he would like to make. We have been working on the sprites for a couple of days now and have run out of a few key colours so we're off out today to track some more down. I might invest in the mini hama beads so I can make some smaller pieces. I am so pleased I have been able to drag him away from technology for a while and explore his creativity. Here is from top left Luigi, Cloud, Frog Mario and tiny Mario* (*a Jesse creation)
I just have to keep on thinking of ideas where he can get the benefit from both.
Here is Koopa Trooper* adapted by Jesse as we can't find the right sized boards to work on (that's what happens when I decide to have a tidy up). So yes, we will be buying some of those today as well.