By Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
I was amazed how much fun my sons had with a simple stopwatch we bought at a garage sale. They would suddenly say things like “I’ll take the trash out to the alley. Time me!” or “See how long it takes me to go down to the basement and back”. Then they started making charts of how long it took to do things. How long to drive to the library? How long for mom to pump gas? How long to get through the grocery store? It was all new and exciting with a stopwatch.
We had charts that included everyone in the family. How long could we jump on one foot? Juggle beanbags? Walk on stilts? And there were endless attempts to up their scores. How many jumping jacks can you do in one minute? How many sit ups?
When speeding through every activity started to make me dizzy, I said, “Let’s see how slowly I can walk to the kitchen.” They laughed, but they timed me. And then they tried to walk slower. Now I felt like I had found my niche. I had a real shot at being the slowest at something. It was like the anti-olympics.
Like most new and fun things, the stopwatch lost its panache eventually and I found it in a drawer in the bathroom vanity. I left it there until winter, then brought it out with some flourish and said “who wants to see how fast they can shovel the front sidewalk?” It worked! A whole new season and it was fun to be timing ourselves at different activities.
An added benefit of a stopwatch- if you have a youngster who’s struggling with telling time, a little stopwatch playtime and they soon have a firm grasp of how many seconds make a minute and how many minutes in an hour, and the significance of that little hand ticking around the face of the clock. And whether you’re fastest or slowest at something, take pride in your claim to fame. I can still walk slower to the kitchen than anyone in the family.