After the rodeo, the boys said they wanted to ride horses so Jenny booked a trail ride for Will and I and a ride in the rodeo arena for Lucas. Will rode Frijoles and I rode Big Red. Will talked almost the whole time to the young woman from the rodeo (on Tuesday) who led the ride. They talked about rodeo, rodeo clowns, mushrooms, how long she had been riding horses (age 3) and how long she had been doing rodeos (age 5), his brother, and how old her daughter is (“oh no, I don’t have a daughter. I am only 19. That’s too young.”). Now he says if he isn’t a night guard, he is pretty sure he is going to be a rodeo cowboy.
After dinner I took the boys to the playground, while Jenny did some work. Psychologists who study play find that age-diverse play has many benefits for both the younger and the older kids. The older kids get to be leaders and organizers. The younger kids get to model the behavior of the older kids, they learn new skills and games, and they get to push their developmental limits. There is also less bullying.
The boys played “Find the Flag” for almost two hours with a group of 20-25 kids. The game included kids as old as early high school and as young as a couple years old. The older kids organized the game. They divided the playground into two halves and explained the rules of the game. Each team hides a flag on their side (in this case, shoes one of the kids donated to the cause). You can only be tagged on the opposing team’s side. Your goal is to get the other team’s flag without getting tagged. They modified the rules for the little kids, letting them roam freely on the other team’s side without the fear of being tagged. They divided the kids up in a way that was fair. They memorized the names of the kids on their team. They helped the younger kids.
Will and Lucas had a great time playing. When Lucas almost got placed on a different team from Will, he told one of the team leaders “he had to be on his brother’s team because he loves him so much.” They were placed on the same team. On one of the last few games, Will “found the flag.” He was so proud, he immediately ran over to tell me. I am quite certain his role in winning the game meant much more to him because he outfoxed some much older kids. It is too bad that the boys only get these chances for age-diverse play at campgrounds.