A few weeks ago a 7 year old child wanted to go looking for 'bears' in the forest. We had a great time sneaking around trying to find them. His imagination was fully engaged and he took me on a bear filled adventure – I think we 'saw' about 5 of them in total. Afterwards we spent some time making art. I drew a picture of a bear and showed it to him. He took it off me and decided to make a few additions. This is what he did...
He drew an arrow through its head and the scribble above is his master plan for how to kill the bear. Hmmm.. ok then. I didn't realise that was the idea!
Part of me had to laugh because he 'ruined' my perfectly good picture of a bear. Another part of me felt slightly uncomfortable because I didn't like the idea of killing a bear (even a pretend one) for what I interpreted as no good reason. Made me reflect on my own feelings about what I should do when children's play makes me feel uncomfortable. There's an excellent blog post that discusses this topic further which is definitely worth a read (see Pulling the legs off a spider). It asks whether it's best to interfere or let them play it out? Personally, I'm still working on my answer to that!