How the Alligator Got His Super Purple Weapon-Collar


My son hopped into the van after preschool the other day, holding his stuffed alligator, Snout. The teacher who had walked him out explained that the kids had made bracelets that morning as part of their study of A-B patterns. “So he has a new bracelet,” she said with a smile. I thought that was nice, although my little guy isn’t much into wearing bracelets.

As we drove away, Evan held up Snout to show me the new bead bracelet that had become a collar around the alligator’s neck. Purple and silver beads alternated properly on a purple pipe cleaner whose twisted ends held it all together. And then began the explanation.

The bracelet-turned-collar was no ordinary collar, but a formidable weapon. My son went into great detail about its powerful, magical capabilities from blasting enemies to turning things into diamonds. He explained the differences between the powers of the purple beads and the silver beads, complete with scenarios to illustrate his points. Evan was quite excited about his “A-B pattern bracelet.”

It reminded me of a friend’s observation about how you can ban toy guns all you want, and the boys will “shoot” with sticks or their fingers or something. Likewise, you can teach a lesson using a benign craft like a bead bracelet, and a boy may very well go home with a magical weapon for his stuffed alligator. You just never know what those imaginations might conjure up…

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