Day 82: Boy codes

Today was a rainy Saturday and we had no plans. Papa had duty, so he was gone from 5:30 am to noon, on call all day, and he’s got to be back at 1am this morning. I wasn’t sure what we were going to do with the day.

And I wasn’t really trying to start an all-day thing, but since Girl had asked yesterday if we could go on PBSkids.org in order for her to receive “top notch training from the Odd Squad,” I registered both kids after breakfast. While I was at it, I registered them for the online Lego Club, to give them access to some games and activities that go along with their magazines.

So, this was Girl’s first time using a laptop by herself. She asked to go on PBS Kids, and started playing an Odd Squad counting game, her first video game ever. Later she made her own character. And then just started navigating around trying different things, as kids will do.

Meanwhile a friend on Facebook mentioned the beginning coding lessons for littles on Code.org, and I thought, why not? Maybe Boy would like it. I set him up on my laptop and moved Girl to the other laptop on the homeschool table.

Boy coding at my messy desk.
Boy coding at my messy desk.

Last I had checked he wasn’t too interested in the drag and drop coding, but this time it totally struck his fancy. He went through nearly 20 lessons, and had to do some significant math problem solving. I even had to introduce the notion of angles (in degrees), and he totally got it, impromptu though my explanation was. While both kids were working on separate laptops in different parts of the house, I was wearing a path on the carpet going back and forth between them. Between online activities and taking breaks to work on Legos, the morning and afternoon went by in a flash. Girl is still working on her Lego Friends Ranch set, and Boy has been working hard on his submission for the Lego Swamp Police vehicle competition.

From the front: gun turret and detachable speed boats.
From the front: gun turret and detachable speed boats.
Storage area at back of ship.
Storage area at back of ship.
Below decks: trashcan, stove, counter with radio, fridge, toilet, sink.
Below decks: trashcan, stove, counter with radio, fridge, toilet, sink.
Below deck on the floating Swamp Police Station.
Below deck on the floating Swamp Police Station.

He’s built a ship that’s a floating police station, that has detachable speed boats to chase ‘crooks.’ Above deck there are gun turrets, a jail, lights, and satellite dishes (not shown in these pictures). In the rear there’s a storage area with fire extinguishers, walkie-talkies, cabinets containing axes. Below deck there’s a control area for the captain (who happens to be a robot), a coffee station with four cups (three for the human swamp police officers, one for a visiting ‘crook’), a kitchen (trashcan, stove, fridge, and cabinet/counter),  and bathroom (toilet and sink with hand soap). I love that his design wasn’t just guns and a jail. I love that he must have thought, well, these officers have to spend a lot of time here while they’re on duty. What all do they need? And I wish it weren’t so bloody difficult to take pictures of Legos.

I don’t think it’s just the mom in me speaking when I say that Boy is a pretty good builder. He could stack twenty blocks when he was a baby. So, he has this gift. And it’s my job, as I see it, to help him translate that raw material of a gift into a living when he’s grown. A living that he likes, that will pay his bills. How does one do that? How do I do that? I think about it every day.

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