I have been fascinated with miniature versions of real things since I was a child. If I thought deeply, I’d likely determine that has something to do with being the oldest in a large family, and Mom buying, baking, canning, and storing most things in Industrial Size Containers. There’s little point to an 8×8″ cake pan if the children will devour a 9×13″ double-layer in one evening. With a bigger family, everything gets up-sized.
(The only things I voluntarily sized up were cookies. I have five brothers. Big cookies make you very popular when you have five brothers.)
When everything is Large, the Small becomes the Nifty. And for a whole site of Nifty, you’ll want to bookmark For Small Hands.
While I love all things miniature, I have a really big issue with non-functional small things. What’s the point in giving a child mini tools for cleaning if they don’t actually work? Half the fun of small things is that they work perfectly in their small state. The “toy” version of most things, available in retina-scarring bright plastic at your local Big Box Toy Conglomerate, is rarely a functional tool. Since childhood is a time to learn and explore, why send a child to explore with faulty equipment?
Offering real, working tools at a child scale is a big part of my nefarious plot in search of a life of leisure. My minions–erm, beloved children–get lots of opportunities to learn life skills at a young age, because… hey, I didn’t wreck it all up. Just because I gave birth doesn’t mean I should clean up all the messes. If they made the nasty smudgy fingerprints on the window, I know they can reach them and wipe them clean, too. (Thanks, Mom, for that bit of wisdom about 12 years ago!)
Adult-scaled tools don’t always work for small hands, though. Even if I don’t buy everything from Small Hands, I get plenty of fantastic ideas for adapting everything things to small uses.
And, if I’m teaching my four year old to pour her own drinks, thus freeing me from the tyranny of her quite-possibly-endless thirst, I’d far rather she learn with a very small real pitcher than the big Ultra-Gallon Mega-Pitcher in the fridge. My kitchen towels are not miniature, but they have limits.
The paper copy of the Small Hands catalog is said current four year old’s “Very Frave-rit-ist Book” right now. On a mad whim a few weeks ago, when she was desperate for something fun to do (she is my most dramatic child thus far), I handed her the catalog and a highlighter, and told her to circle everything she likes best. (Distracting, and it doubles as some additional fine motor skills practice!)
I should have given her the old catalog. It’s getting quite impossible to read the new one, as it’s full of her marks on her (many) Frave-rit Things. The Sound Of Music would be about three hours longer if we got really accurate about the raindrops on roses song, as performed by my daughter.