Sunday, October 6, 2013

Field trip: Fire Station Open House

This morning Santino woke up saying "fire trucks, fire trucks". I thought it was because I told him yesterday "stay in the bed, close your eyes, and tomorrow I will take you to the fire station", but he just wanted to watch the videos, that his daddy made for him long time ago: a compilation of various short videos of trucks found for  free on the internet.

My plan was to take him to the open house for an hour or so, then check out a mom-to-mom sale, and then stop by at a park. Last year I took Santino to the same fire station to their open house, and he didn't want to do anything, just sat in the corner and ate popcorn.
This time proved to be very different. I brought him early, exactly at the opening time, to beat the crowd and be able to do something without standing in line. He started slow, just looking around. Then he examined the fire trucks, displayed at the front of the fire station.
I am thinking now, "why didn't I take photos of the premises and all the activities, and how nicely it all was displayed and organized". I guess I'm not a reporter, I was mostly concerned with what Santino wanted to do, so I only have pictures of him.

He started by climbing on one of the fire trucks.

Then we went inside and he wanted to play golf. His style mostly reminds me of hockey, though, rather then golf, but its all good. Whatever works!


He ignored the jumping castle for now (it wasn't really a jumping castle, rather a slide), and continued outside to the back of the fire station, where a Tim Hortons train was set up with a big line up already, and two stations with hoses and firemen showing how to shoot down the fire in a house or direct a stream, so that a balloon would move on a string all the way from front to back. 

This was a fun activity, and Santino came back a few times, waiting for his turn patiently every time.

He decided not to stand in line and wait for the train ride, and proceeded straight towards the firemen uniform area. Yes, he was the one deciding where to go and what to do! I just followed him around and only directed him to the washroom a few times (no accidents all this time! yay!)

Then Santino surprised me when he expressed interest in the art station: he sat down and started painting! This time it was just black paint. He concentrated for a while, covering the wooden sticks (he called them logs) with a thick layer of black paint, and then generously sprinkling them with sparkles. I didn't save this masterpiece, but took a picture of the process. I think it is enough for now.

I often do that: I take photos of Santino's  art projects, and throw out the originals. I simply don't have the space to save it all. I do let him admire the results for a while, by placing his creative projects on display on the walls in his play room for quite a long time, weeks, or even months. Then I rotate, remove and replace.

Later we came back to the art station, and he did another art project: coloring a fire truck. He did good! He put the corresponding colors in the correct areas, tried covering the area nicely. I was impressed, and brought this one home.

This was a long day for us! Santino tried all activities multiple times, including the sliding castle (he went 8 or 9 times, each time standing in a long line). He tried protesting first, but I explained to him that this is called "sharing": there are lots of kids, but only one slide, and if every kid starts playing there for a long time, the rest won't be able to. And he understood this, accepted and went to the end of the line to wait his turn again.

He then waited for the train 3 times, and those lines were even longer! We did have enough practice with line-ups back in summer in Canada Wonderland, often had to wait to get on every ride, so Santino got pretty familiar with the concept.

I was very proud of him today, as he proved to be a patient and dedicated person, who knows what he wants and willing to wait for it.


In conclusion: we ended up spending the whole day at this open house, from 10 am till 3 pm. We only had a little problem in the end, when he refused to leave after the open house was over. Otherwise, it was a fun and a productive day.

We didn't try a couple of activities, like crawling in a tunnel or face painting, but everything else we pretty much tried and enjoyed more than once!

We also utterly enjoyed free doughnuts, coffee, popcorn, cookies and hot dogs, generously offered by the fire department.

I would also like to give props to the fire department for organizing this event. It was very well organized, planned and executed. The staff was awesome, very friendly and very patient, the activities were fun, educating and informative! Thank you!