Picture a speed boat ride to paradise.  If you’re imagining sipping cocktails on deck, think again. Luxury speed boat this is not but if you like stomach churning rollercoaster rides then you’re in for a treat – if you can handle the one and a half hour journey that is! Now the challenge is to happily engage a 15 month old cooped up below deck. What do you take with you on this journey when you’re travelling light and sadly a Treasure Basket just isn’t an option? Well on one such journey in Thailand I watched a little boy happily engaged for the entire trip, seemingly oblivious to the limited space and wave-cresting  journey.  And the object of delight and enrapture? An adult’s life jacket – perfect for a child with an enveloping schema or someone who enjoys the endless opportunities for making connections afforded by the clip on straps.

With this alone as a play thing and an older Thai boy to smile at and help with the buckles and clips, this child happily spent the entire journey taking the life jacket on and off – a challenge because of its size and bulky rigidity; opening and closing ‘fasteners’ another challenge because of the fine motor skills and hand eye coordination required, not to mention the skill and strength to ensure that the plastic ‘clips’ and not soft skin were pinched. He delighted in the noise as the plastic prongs pinged open and shut; showed sheer determination as he searched for the right fasteners and endeavoured to connect these; and his eyes shone with visible pride as by the end of the journey he had successfully mastered the clip mechanisms and was able to put on the life jacket himself. Thankfully no life jackets were needed on that journey to paradise. Just as well really as the rest were safely stowed under our bags!

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