Eeeeegads, The Mall

In Arizona, land of triple digit temperatures for half of the year, there are free indoor play areas for children.  Chiefly these are found in shopping malls and are much nicer than, say, a playland at the local fast food franchise.  There is a particularly nice one in the Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale, Arizona, though I believe there are even fancier ones in Scottsdale.  I avoid malls as often as possible, but today I had a genuine reason to go.  So I packed up a car full of family members, the youngest was about 20 months, and headed off. 

As the family dispersed to accomplish their various errands, I took the littlest girl to the play area.  The upper limit for playground participation is 42”, and there were only a few kids larger than that running around.  But we were among dozens of children of mixed ages running, jumping, sliding and mostly squealing.  I was astonished at how well the little ones kept up.  Grown-up participation consisted mostly of sitting on the benches that ring the walled-in area.  There were a few mad scrambles to get to the “goalie” area and keep little ones from running out the only exit.

What surprised me was how well the little community of children got along.  There were no fights, no bullying, and no tantrums.  No babies run over by older, bigger kids.  And, as mentioned, very little adult intervention required.  I decided on the spot that this was an activity I could repeat.  Often, if needed. 

It would be too easy to make the “future global community” observation.  And truthfully the idea never crossed my mind.  I was just happy that the toddler was happily occupied and no one got hurt.  Maybe not life changing, but it was the extraordinary moment in this ordinary day.

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