Things that Go Fast! Race Cars and Roller Coasters

I always wanted to build a racetrack. Well, sort of. And I thought I could indulge that fantasy and share it with my GG Sprinkles viewers. I decided to use what I had on hand to build my racetrack, and that happened to be poster board, along with tape and markers.

I built a pretty impressive three-lane straightaway, but decided that wasn’t much of a challenge for my race cars, so I built hills in each of my three lanes just to shake things up. That actually worked a little too well, but the craziness only added to the fun. The three cars have been in my when-the-grandkids-visit toy box for a while. These tiny vehicles let no obstacles stand in their way, and they’re very energetic. And a tad noisy. Gracie used to bark incessantly at them when we’d run them in the family room. She’s not a big fan of fast, noisy things. Cooper, on the other hand, is and so I took the cars with me when I nannied. The cars went under every piece of furniture and an appliance or two, but they survived. So these noisy little beauties were just what I needed on my poster board track. I created flags at the finish line and colored them to match the cars and we were good to go.

There aren’t many Sprinkles episodes where I leave the rocking chair and get down on the floor, but this was one. And I had a good time. But it wasn’t just race cars that I wanted to feature; I wanted to do something with roller coasters as well. This was a bit trickier, though. I couldn’t figure out how to build one of those out of poster board. It occurred to me that if I cut strips of plain white paper and taped them together end to end, I could design in miniature any roller coaster I wanted. I have an acrylic ‘table’ I use in my episodes, so I used tape to put the long paper strip on the table, creating loop-the-loops, drops, and death-defying hills. I hoped the kids might decide to create their own racetracks and design their own roller coasters.

I wrote poetry about things that go fast and riding roller coasters. Part of the underlying message here is that sometimes things that scare us become some of our favorites once we try them. In this case, you need only to take that first ride on a roller coaster and then chances are you’ll want another. And another. And the screams as you loop the loop and leave your breath behind you on that last steep drop are a major part of the fun. ❤️

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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