It’s Okay to Be a Puzzle

Puzzles of all sorts are popular with children and adults alike. I thought doing a GG Sprinkles episode on puzzles would be appropriate. I didn’t just want to demonstrate store-bought puzzles, so I decided to make some of my own. That way I could encourage the kids to do the same. I took a Christmas card and cut it into jigsaw pieces and did the same with a calendar page (specifically a hummingbird). I wanted something even more visual so I used a piece of poster board, grabbed a few handfuls of cookie cutters, and traced around them. The object is to place the cutter cutters on the right spaces as quickly as possible. I had fun with this one, but I wanted to give them something to think about.

As a high school teacher, I discovered pretty quickly that some of the biggest and most difficult puzzles to solve were the teenagers that passed through my classroom over the years: How would this one learn best? How would I get that one to make it to class on time? What would inspire each one to write and write well? Each child was a different puzzle, and I count myself a failure for each one I couldn’t solve. And clearly, I was a puzzle to each new class: How far can we push her? How tough a grader is she? How fast can she run? Actually, that last one was even more relevant for Cooper to solve as I nannied him. And he was surely a puzzle for me. I knew little girls; little boys were definitely more of a mystery. After over four years with him, we pretty well figured each other out, although there were tears along the way. Sometimes, Cooper even cried. 😁

So what’s the point? Most of us are puzzles in some way and to some people. It’s what makes us unique. It’s also a pretty good indicator of how much someone wants to be your friend if they’re willing to invest the time and energy in solving the puzzle that is you. So it’s good to be a puzzle. Each of us is worth ‘solving’ and each of us is our own person. I wanted the kids to know that and to embrace the differences, not only in others, but also in themselves. And in case you were wondering, Cooper discovered that I can run pretty darned fast. That part of me didn’t remain a puzzle for long. ❤️

Author:

I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process. I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel. So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!

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