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also be useful to pile up, or move about, if the shapes of them were round, square, oval, conical, octagon, &c., which might be made to give early ideas of the difference of figures which bodies assume. A mother might pile up her square blocks on the floor, till they resembled a pyramid, or a house, or a well, or a number of steps. How long would a child be satisfied to remain before he would beg of his mother to build him another pyramid? or another house? Those who think such simple exhibitions would be lost on children, are no judges of the deep impression, though for the time short, which an object of interest makes in their minds; and if by such repeated exhibitions one single notion only is gained, namely, that a pyramid is a pile very differently formed from that of a house, it is enough. The question is not, how scientific, how learned, how systematic, how preternaturally wise is the child, but simply this: does he learn to think ? And if we can pronounce that he really does try to exercise his mind, be it only for one minute daily, and on so trivial a matter as that of the pyramid, or even to the determining that the square block rests firmer on the ground than the oval one, we have accomplished something. One notion a day will make three hundred and sixty-five at the end of a year; and how much fact must be stored, how many ideas suggested by this aggregate of reflection!
The truth is, that though nature does wonders for children in their earliest years, when the senses, the powers of mind and body are expanded by almost visible thrusts, every faculty of the child seeming to absorb, to drink up, if the expression may be permitted, facts, knowledge, information, yet is most of the exertion to do so a voluntary work of nature. Let any person come forward to assist in this work, and he cannot use too much caution, or be too moderate, at first, in his gifts. Nature is very prodigal, but she is also very jealous. She likes not interference, but such as is delicately offered, and judiciously made. Children, like mules, may be trained and led; they should never be overloaded, and seldom driven. Guide them from infancy aright; they will most probably keep tractably in the right road, and will certainly not grow restive upon a gentle check, or moderate in- Å citement to exertion. Suffer them to run wild, or by turns capriciously neglect and hurry them onward, they will be spoiled and worthless altogether. In a word, nature, through habit, will do every thing for us, if we will use discretion, and treat her with the caution and tenderness which are her due ; but if ca. price, neglect, irregularity, and inconsistencies are our course of practice, we shall no more be governed by her assistance, or favoured by her indulgence, than would the man who after having sown his seeds in her bosom, yet mistrusting her powers, should dig them up daily, to examine their increase, or to change their bed.
Another in-door employment for a little child is seen in what is called a Dutch town; or a number of pieces of wood in the form of houses, large and small, trees, &c. It is a very pretty entertainment to move and place these pieces in every position ; but as children will put every thing to their mouths, these toys should not be, as they usually are, whitewashed and
daubed over here and there with vermillion, or pernicious colours, but should be neatly painted in oil colours, in which no preparation of lead, or verdigris, or other dangerous ingredient, has been mixed. The Dutch town may consist of houses, churches, trees, benches, and even platforms of thin wood, painted green to represent the middle of a square or park ; and the mother, in arranging this toy, may change the order of it to the circus, the square, the crescent or the long street, according to her fancy.
Diminutive tea things, mugs, cups, or other little vessels of pure tin, wherein is no particle of lead, brass, or copper; soldiers, and leathern balls, are harmless toys; as are all forms of animals, or little vessels, cut out of wood unpainted; but, as I have remarked, such andother toys, should be offered sparingly, if we cannot discover something of use in their application. They are, it must be remembered, but substitutes for the best of occupations for little children : out of door recreation, and exercise.
TEMPERANCE AND INDUSTRY.
« HER LABOURS ARE VIRTUES." " HE THAT GATHERETH BY LABOUR SHALL INCREASE.” “ Love Not sleeP LEST IT BRING THEE TO POVERTY.” “AND EXERCISE THYSELF."
In the garden, or the field, nature is kind enough to provide most bounteously for the health and the mind at the same time. The least boy or girl who can
walk, is too happy to be allowed a little penny basket, in which he may deposit stones, grass, moss, flowers, weeds, sticks, or any other treasure that he can pick up; for those things which we pass by unnoticed, or look on with indifference, are to a child, who puts forth his hand and gathers for himself, whilst the breath of heaven plays with his young locks, the sun gilds his path, and exercise raises a glow on his cheek and gives a spring to his limbs, all and severally, enchanting. An icicle, or a tuft of snow, is an object of such wonder and interest to a child, that he would, if left to his pure uncorrupted fancy, jump for a minute with delight, to possess either; and kiss it for joy, when the prize was fairly his own.
But, in order to connect an idea of use with his love of nature's works, we should teach the little one, whether boy or girl, that throwing the soft and the hard, as a flower and a stone together in his basket, was injurious to the weaker, and would spoil it; that things of a kind, as grass and weeds, should be put together; stones and gravel also ; and flowers by themselves. We cannot say, the prettiest or most agreeable should be set apart, because a stone is almost as pretty and agreeable to a little child as a flower, unless this flower possess very showy dyes; and we assuredly shall not be understood by simple innocence if we declare, that the stones are common and worth nothing, but that the flower has a value. This relative value of objects the child will learn soon enough of himself, when he can use a little spade, and has a bit of ground to call his garden. He will then understand, that the beautiful little white flower of a tender plant called chickweed, which he has so often admired, is to be dragged up by the root, and thrown away; as well as the fine thistle, the pretty blue bindweed, and the yellow groundsel, whose flower, when ripe, he has so often gathered to examine its white silken pod. Stones which he has heretofore collected, the red, the black, the blue-veined, and the white, he now discovers are only intruders in a bed of black mould, and must be drawn forth and thrown on a neglected heap, where they lie to be ready for repairing walks. All these truths a child gradually learns, and each carries its own conviction. The plants which are called weeds, although they be beautiful in themselves, he finds to grow and spread so fast over ground, that they cover and choak up others which are wanted for use. The stones, however curious, he sees by their being in the mould, obstruct and hinder seeds from darting upwards and downwards, and must be removed. And how much better is the gradual expansion of his comprehensive faculties by this experience, than the forcing them to see and know what they are not, by any means, convinced of or prepared for, through inju. dicious expressions of “ Oh dirty stones ! throw them away, they are good for nothing. Paltry weeds, do not pick them up,” and so forth. The child perhaps obeys, unwillingly enough, and drops the stones, which he cannot help thinking very handsome ; as he also surveys the wild convolvolus, the blue perriwinkle, the white flowery chickweed, and rich groundsel, and wonders how objects so beautiful can be called ugly or paltry. While, if he should be inclined to gallop over a plain bed of mould, on which he can see no leaf or flower, the gardener would perhaps scream out,