Building block games are a great lens to observe children. I love watching how children interact with these blocks. My research is far from complete. But I would like to report some early observations.
I have the privilege of exhibiting the unique trademark hearts, as well as my new Sponap shapes, on several tables at various events, such as at the annual fundraiser–The Congenital Heart Walk–in the pictures here. In general, children in these environments know that they can enjoy for free any entertainment at any of the tables. There is a remarkable difference in how children approach the hearts.
Everyone receives the same amount of instructions. I show them that the hearts have unique angles that allow them to interconnect. I encourage them to explore. I show a few limited examples. I don’t like to influence the direction that they might take with the hearts.
In every event, there is always a remarkable child who will attack the hearts with confidence. I love that. A child like that assumes that the world is theirs. Without being rude, without inhibition, without invisible obstacles, this remarkable child will take the hearts and manipulate them endlessly. Sometimes they just show up in a group. But it’s not always in a group, so I can’t generalize about that. I see it plenty in individual differences. All the children who come in with this confidence have never seen my hearts before.
I want every child to feel that they can try anything. The hearts are safe. In this safe environment, they can’t be judged. They won’t be graded. The only obstacle is in their left hemisphere, holding them back. I need them to peel that layer off. Whatever it is that’s stopping them is not helping, so they need to overcome it. This is the exercise that will teach them to think outside the box.
How would you react when confronting a new toy? Would you analyze it? Would you put yourself down? Would you be afraid that you couldn’t do anything cute even before you try? Would you realize that it is just a toy?
Many adults think that if they stray from a recipe, the world will end. Do they think things will blow up? Typically, food won’t blow up. It will probably still taste great. It is the same with this heart game. There is no recipe. There are no rules. It is your time. We could all use a dose of heart mandala work. It balances our hemispheres. It helps us listen to ourselves–to our two hemispheres.