Ever since Joshua first heard of rockets we've incorporated them into our lives in every way. How did he first hear of them? I showed him aYouTube video of a Space Shuttle launch, that's how! From that initial introduction we've gone on to so much more! We've discovered that there is a regular model rocket launch at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, viewable launches from Wallops Island rockets we can launch ourselves, cardboard boxes that can become rockets in our imagination, mixing vinegar and baking soda in a capped bottle launches the cap and spatters the ceiling with fun smelling rocket propellant, our couch serves as a rocket for ourselves and guests, and even rockets in our cereal. Ultimately, we're even planning a trip down to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch a launch from there!
We've spent countless hours at the National Air and Space Museum (both campuses!). We are fascinated by flight, rockets, and space in general. We love making things into rockets and exploring the universe, which is even cooler in reality (Thanks Neil deGrasse Tyson!) than it is in our imaginations.
A little background here may help. When I was looking at applying to college I focused on three fields: Architecture, International Relations, and Aeronautical Engineering. I went with IR, and feel like I dodged an economic bullet with Architecture (although I still love it!), but I've always missed the aeronautical engineering path. I've been fascinated by flight, rockets, space exploration, and the idea of space colonization since I was Joshua's age. In fact, the very first book I wrote (in 2nd grade) was on space exploration and life as an astronaut. Considering that background, it's no wonder that Joshua's gained an affinity for all things space. As the son of a true Trekky, he really had no other option.
Now he shares that passion for space with me, with his friends when they visit, and maybe one day with the world through whatever he creates. One of his favorite pastimes in this vein is to turn our couch into a rocket. How, you may ask, does a couch become a rocket? Easy, it flips over to morph into the command module for the Apollo Moon Missions. In fact, we flipped our couch over so many times that during one flight to the moon in the company of three of Joshua's friends, we actually broke the couch. Several nervous parents were nearby as the kids giggled with delight, and we explored the outer reaches of the universe together. We've dodged so many asteroids, landed on the rings of Saturn, and found alien life forms (in the form of Joshua's stuffed animals) from that couch.
Cardboard boxes of all sizes from mattresses, bikes, and even diapers have been great rockets within which daddy can push Joshua (human propulsion!) through the far reaches of space. We turned the Casper box into a spaceship for over two weeks until its cardboard structure finally failed. We always have a selection of boxes and box pieces available in the living room from which to launch a space journey, or journey of the mind in any direction we choose.
We often find ourselves heading to the park next door with a handbag full of styrofoam rockets and a launcher ready to turn the basketball courts into our local version of Cape Canaveral. Joshua loves launching the rockets, watching them soar, and being in charge of Rocket Retrieval. I don't know exactly what's going on in that incredible mind of his, but I do know he's fascinated by propulsion and space.
Recently, Jan's mom bought Joshua a science kit which included many activities to excite his young mind. One of the things we did was fill a water bottle with baking soda and vinegar, cap the bottle with a styrofoam rocket, and let it fly. It flew so high in out kitchen that it hit the ceiling, spraying vinegar and baking soda to the roof, splashing on Mom and son eliciting giggles galore before some very necessary wiping up. Rockets Rock!
My side of the family is not the only one with this exploratory scientific bend. In fact, I think I'm the weaker side in this regard, as Jan's cousins actually work in this field. One of Jan's cousins is graduating from college with a degree in aeronautical engineering with job prospects leading toward a career developing enhanced propulsion systems. Another has worked on robotics and computer science stuff since his graduation several years ago. Their father is head of something very technical at a Science Center. Science, exploration, and the willingness to play in order to find the answers to questions is strong in Joshua's DNA. Playing in order to explore and strengthen that will probably be something we continue for a long time to come.
What does this have to do with Comfy? Everything! We started playing with rockets and space stuff because I liked it and wanted to share it with Joshua. He loved it, taking that affinity to a whole new level. We keep playing with it because it makes him feel good, we enjoy ourselves, we learn new things, we get to travel to go see launches, and we come together as a family over something we all find fascinating. No one is forcing learning in any direction, but rather simply exploration through affinity based play. That is the definition of Comfy. Do what you love for the enjoyment of it.
What do you and yours do that you love?
How do you share that love with others?
Can we play with you, cause chances are, we'll love it too!