Saturday, June 4, 2011

Photo of the Chicken Coop Clubhouse

To the right and down a bit on this page you will see a photo added this week of me standing between some neighboring kids in front of the Chicken Coop Clubhouse which I've written about in a few blogs. The photo points out the truth in the adage, "A picture is worth 1,000 words."

Ramshackled with hardly any glass in the windows that small, old building was our DisneyWorld-the hub of our growing up in the country. It was a schoolhouse-a playhouse-a library-a restaurant-a stop along the way for stagecoaches or whatever else our imaginations pretended it to be. It provided us hours of creativity. It allowed us to explore the depths of childhood imagination. It instilled in us an excitement of the possibility. We learned sharing and responsibility; caring for those younger than we were; organizing events and carrying through with those events when the best laid plans hit roadblocks-just as life does when becoming adults. We read books; my favorites always by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott. We wrote books.

From that Chicken Coop Clbhouse came plays and fairs; circuses and artshows. We taught the younger ones their ABCs. We read to them. We did projects with them. We even sent worksheets and report cards home with them. We hand-printed 4 copies of a family newspaper and delivered the copies every Sunday morning complete with family news, display ads, and local family sports.

Most kids don't need anything fancy to play with. Imaginations just need to be stimulated-not from TV or electronic games but from the freedom to explore where their very own imaginations can take them. Turn a sofa into a cabin. Throw a blanket between two chairs. If your lucky turn an old chicken coop into a Clubhouse for if you do, those marvelous experiences will stay with that child forever. I know this for certain!

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