Yesterday we got together with a few other families to bake hamantashen, make groggers and watch a Purim movie. That was the explicit purpose of the get-together. If I would be held accountable by how many of these goals were achieved by my kids, we would score quite poorly: 9 yo is the only one who successfully participated in all the activities and had something to show in the end (a grogger and hamantashen).
When we got there, there was a dog in the house. 4 yo is very afraid of dogs, so she would not go out back with the other kids as long as the dog was on the deck. I did not want 1 yo crawling on the deck with the dog either, so I did not really help out the boys. 9 yo started on grogger making with decorating his container. 7 yo had hard time squeezing glitter paint, then he saw a little clown that 9 yo made on the lid of his grogger, got frustrated that he can NEVER make a clown like that, and just stomped off into the backyard. He climbed on everything: the top of the sand box, the grill, the outer railing of the deck. Then he went inside, to play with Perplexus, read and make balloon animals.
Meanwhile the dog was brought into the house, 4 yo came outside, 9 yo followed the crowd to roll and fill hamantashen. I finally put the baby down, who made a beeline for the steps up the deck and the plastic slide. Oh, and the opening in the deck railing, second-floor height. I ended up watching and following him rather than helping 4 yo with her grogger. She made a half-hearted attempt to make one, but she was more interested in all the bikes and scooters on the deck. She tried out a scooter and a tricycle, but what really caught her eye was a bike with training wheels. She got onto the seat, and, with a little push, was able to pedal. There was not a whole lot of space, and the seat was a bit too high for her, but she spent a nice chunk of time practicing riding the bike.
I asked her whether she wanted to make hamantashen, but she was too engrossed in her new skill. I asked 7 yo if he wanted to make them, but he said no.
At the end, the kids did watch a Purim movie together (Megilat Lester and I heard good things about it).
When it was time to leave, 4 yo was ready to make hamantashen. Luckily there was one more piece of dough left, so she made two, and her friend shared one of hers to eat, so we did not have to wait for 4 yo's hamantash to be baked.
Was this a success? Was this a failure? Did we have good time? Did we learn anything?
Now I know that 4 yo is ready for a big bike. I know to bring some books for 7 yo to keep him busy, and that he is very much OK doing something different from the rest of the crowd. We also made some hamantashen on Friday at home, and he had hard time lining up the sides and pinching them, so we ended up with hamantash tacos and burritos. That might have been the extent of his desire to make hamantashen. We also had a really pleasant time walking to and from the house.
Maybe when the kids are not meeting educational objectives, the trouble is with the objectives, and not with the kids. I need to spend more time looking at the big overall picture rather than just a particular activity.