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Kids + Imagination + Ingenuity + Snow = Pure Awesomeness

Forest Pearson is a 10-year-old who saved $500 to build a snow-making machine from scratch.  Forest Pearson is also our hero, who will probably grow to build a 100-person Jacuzzi on top of Everest. This real-world Calvin put together the machine using a 30-gallon air compressor and a pressure washer, with spray noozles that throw perfect snow powder. The machine may look simple in the following the image, but the results are stunning Update: now with video

His mom said: “He’s watching a molecular process happening here, he’s creating a climatic event. It’s incredible.” I don’t know what’s more incredible: her mom being cool about Forest creating a huge mountain of snow in their backyard or the fact that she’s talking about it all as “molecular process.”

Gadgets: Real-World Calvin Builds Snow Machine, Creates Backyard Mountain Overnight

There really isn’t too much more to say than AWESOME. 

Kids and snow.  I’m telling you– it could be colder than cold, but if a kid sees a pile of fresh snow?  The chill factor doesn’t have much power.  Kids will spend hours digging tunnels and building up forts– making their OWN world… and in the end, isn’t that kind of what kids always reach for?  Their OWN world?

Virtual environments, playhouses, dolls, toys, kid-sized toilets (there was a restaurant I was obsessed with as a kid because it had a me-sized toilet. Yes, I know I was weird), kid-sized passage ways, etc.

A world where they don’t feel the smallest, the weakest, the littlest, the under appreciated child….

My sister and I had this side yard growing up (we creatively called “the side yard” lolzbot).  It was an elevated mound of wilderness stretching the border length of our 5 acre property.  On both sides it had drainage ditches, but we considered them “moats”.  We built the CRAPPIEST wooden-plank bridge to cross (but loved it because WE made it).  We would yank skinny branches off the Willow behind the pond and sit on the high side yard with the rope-y willow branch dipping into the imaginary moat, and we’d catch imaginary fish.  There was a large gray boulder we used as a table, and smaller boulders as seats.  A hallow trunk we called the toilet (but was really a rabbit burrow) was about 20 feet away in the side yard, and the northern part of the side yard with all the baby trees marked out our “bedrooms.”  As any good story, or adventure, we never EVER went to the northern tip of the side yard (near the road) because there was another huge boulder that resembled (from a distance) an enormous snapping turtle.  As I mentioned earlier, we had a pond with some unfortunate snapping turtle residents– which, thanks to the help of snapping-turtle-stories told by concerned parents who didn’t want their children falling into the pond– provided MANY nightmares.  Did you know snapping turtles can bite a child’s leg in half?  Yes. Frightening.  Anyway, I digress… we never got near that boulder.  It gave our side yard world some excitement.

This side yard was our Neverland.  We never managed to make it look very hospitable, since it was wild, it was a never ending project.

Our neighbor had a kick-butt treehouse.  Of course we coveted it when he first got it.  But, after the initial two-weeks of “ooo treehouse!”, we realized there wasn’t much to do except picnics & going in and then going out.  Woo?  It wasn’t long  before we were back in the side yard having true adventures in our own world.  Granted, sometimes our epic playdays would include some storyline about the Treehouse, where we’d have to flee the side yard for higher ground, thanks to that snapping turtle rock.

My parents moved out of that house (where I lived my entire life) about 4 years ago.  It tore me apart.  unfortunately, due to the stupid market, my parents have been unable to sell the place.  Last year, before I moved to LA, I went back to the old house, found the bridge (which somehow still exists), and crossed into our side yard world.  Everything was EXACTLY the same.  The place we tried to build a garden was still dry and empty, the table rock and the wooden toilet were still there, although much smaller than I remember, and the snapping turtle rock still hid just below the surface of the weeds growing in the ditch.  The trees were a little bigger, the weeds a lot longer (no longer trampled by small feet), and the ditches still brimming with imaginary fish. 

Oh, what a gift children have… uninhibited imagination.  What I wouldn’t give to have that every day.  Since they can’t have what they think they want– they go about making it for themselves… whether it’s pretend or in some giant snow machine. 

Last Friday we were sitting around the office, and the gentlemen I work with rambled about how to make things bigger, better, brighter.  All of which are great when competing– out shine the others, right?  Well, I seemed to be the only one showing restraint (typical).  And yesterday my coworker told me about how he had an “iz-piphany” (I have epiphanies all the time at work, and I never realized how often I used that term).  Anyway, my cowork’s son played in a brown 4×4 cardboard box all weekend.  All. Weekend.  Apparently he slept in it too. 

Don’t underestimate the simple things that stir imagination.  Club Penguin, for as ‘young’ looking as it is, does a GREAT job at making an open environment where kids have to take the socializing into their own hands… but ALSO provides community events like “Rockhopper crashing the boat” that gets kids’ imaginations stirring and provokes them into accepting the realness of the world.  They have a static iceberg island page on CP.  There is NOTHING about it that’s flashy, or even gives the hint of movement.  And yet, somehow, kids got it in their heads that if they crowd the iceberg and collectively gather on one side of it– they could tip the iceberg.  Of course it didn’t happen– but the point is, kids BELIEVED it MIGHT.  They believed enough in this world where they thought they could impact it– despite the fact that everything about that page said it wasn’t going to happen.

Now THAT, my friends, is pure awesomeness…

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  1. January 30, 2008 at 12:25 am

    That snow machine kids is pretty cool. I wonder what he has planned for the summer.

  2. Ken
    January 30, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I love this story. Being the co-owner of http://www.snowathome.com I’m proud to say Forrest bought our SG4-LED Snowmaker kit http://www.snowathome.com/our_products/SG4_LED_U_Build_Kit.php
    So easy a 10yo could build it! SNOW Forrest SNOW!

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