Having my granddaughters to stay was as enjoyable as it was interesting. I knew the eldest had an iPhone, but what I didn’t expect to find, was how little interest she showed in using it. I mean, most children I see these days have some kind of device they’re staring at, speaking into, or plugged to their ears; whether out walking, sitting with friends, or eating with their families in cafes. The use of these devices is endemic – or is it? Not as far as Phemie and Beatrix were concerned, for they were more interested in following their creative instincts: they drew, wrote, read, and played their days away.
Now, if you’re thinking that they were not conversant with technology or perhaps belonged to some reclusive religious order, you’d be wrong, for both girls are quite au fait with using a keyboard, taking images, playing videos etc., It’s just that they are happier exploring the world in their own way. From the first day in our apartment, they gathered rugs and blankets, to make huts for themselves and their ‘friends’, who clearly were in need of emergency medical attention. Bandages (strips of calico) were wrapped around heads, arms, and legs. There wasn’t a toy spared from their administrations.
They both made travel diaries during their New Zealand stay, and when not engaged with other activities, returned to the work station set up at the end of the dining table.
However, these were not just indoor girls. They loved the outdoors, going to the beach, always on the lookout for driftwood to make bridges and shells for decoration.
Back home it was fun play.
There was a trip to the Auckland Art Gallery too, where a project was set up for anyone who wished to participate: to create a dream building from corrugated card, and when finished, have it become part of a much larger sculpture. Card, scissors and tape were supplied. It was terrific seeing them so absorbed – for hours. They created ladders, and platforms, rooms within rooms, and more. To see the girls make so much from three basic items was terrific. My job, was to control an exuberant overuse of tape.
Unfortunately with so many other creative activities to engage with, Phemie was unable to complete her sewing of a calico doll. I found a pattern, but she cut the pieces, and back-stitched the body and head. The hair and clothes were decided on before her departure. But don’t worry Phemie, I’ll keep the pieces safe in my craft trunk – until next visit. It truly is amazing what can be created without an electronic device in sight.