You know the old adage about giving a child a present and they would rather play with the box? We had such a moment at our house last week. We got a package and Nathan was dying to open it. He ran and got a little knife and with careful supervision he soon had the package unloaded. I asked him to put the knife away and then went to give Charity a bath. A few minutes later I came back in the room and he and Grace were busy cutting "blocks" out of the packing foam! I had one of those "what-do-I-do-as-a-responsible-parent" moments. Do I freak out and snatch the knife away with a stern lecture about the dangers of sharp, pointy objects? Or do I let him continue on with his careful cutting and let him practice a new skill that was obviously bringing him great joy? In the end I settled somewhere in the middle. With some instructions and many "Be careful!"s from me I let him keep cutting. Maybe that earns me the bad Mom of the Year award but I figure it's a skill he needs to learn at some point and the foam was a good medium for it.
He and Grace had so much fun with their blocks. He would cut them and she would stack them up or pile them back in the box. She would find one that was too big and toss it back to Nathan so he could cut it smaller. They played and played with those silly blocks. They were all pretty small by the time Nathan was finished with them.