I can't recall a time when I can remember Jenson being so inspired by anything other than LEGO, but right now Blue Planet has got him gripped. The fascinating world of the animals portrayed in this brilliant television documentary has completely captivated his imagination. He demonstrates his understanding of what he has been watching through LEGO and it is wonderful to watch.
He is an avid fan of the new series. He is able to recall facts from the very first week and particularly enjoys that very memorable moment when we witnessed a grouper fish assisting an octopus to catch prey. A wonderful example of team work. It inspired his sniffer ant and digger dog LEGO models and also his pollution LEGO project.
Only today he made a model octopus and explained to me that it was hiding much like a bobbit worm does, waiting to catch an unsuspecting fish.
I always think, (perhaps unfairly) that he never retains information very well and yet his ability to recall the names and activities of animals he has seen on Blue Planet from over a month ago is impressive. Perhaps it's not a case that he doesn't remember but more so he only cares to remember stuff that is of any interest to him.
Fast forward four weeks and his knowledge on the natural world is blossoming. Just earlier today I heard him correct Wren on how a baby puffin is actually called a pufflin. I also overheard him telling her how blue whales are the biggest things on earth and how their tail is the same size as an airplane. We have listened to how plastic is slowly killing our seas and so it is great to see the children taking this on board by picking up litter wherever they go.
Last week Jenson made a fantastically well proportioned blue whale LEGO model and this week he has been embroiled in the construction of an ocean animal sanctuary. Sharks get winched out of the sea using cranes to be examined on a table while others are placed in a giant rotating clamp. Some have swallowed bits of plastic, while some have fallen victim to other human debris.
The animals are nursed back to full health before being returned to the water.
As well as sharks, the sanctuary also provides a home for poorly fish. They swim into the sanctuary through a set of small grey doors, which can be seen in the background.
A diver uses a bucket to collect rubbish he finds in the ocean.
Jenson was very keen to line all of his sea creatures up. From left to right we have a blue whale, an octopus, three jelly fish, another octopus and two sardines. These tiny fish are another animal Jenson has seen on Blue Planet and the fact he could remember what they were called left me feeling really proud, if not a little surprised!
Jenson got the idea for these dolphins from his LEGO book. As usual, I had the mind bogglingly boring task of finding all the right parts in all the right colours, while Jenson sat down and worked out how they all fitted together. There are three different dolphin species here: spinner, common and bottlenose. Jenson could remember all three names without any prompt from me.
This octopus was another big LEGO challenge. Again, Jenson got the idea from his book but he has this wonderful instinctive ability about how things fit together. He is able to read diagrams or see a picture and very easily translate that into a 3D model. The mouth of the octopus in the picture of the book wasn't very clear, but Jenson understood perfectly that its mouth was in the centre of its body and that it had four teeth around it with an opening in the middle.
Octopus then got a good play with, which prompted Jenson to ask a very good question: How do octopuses breathe? One quick Google search later and we discovered that an octopus breathes through gills located on the inside of its mouth. Speaking of eating - it caught another, smaller octopus, which got stuck to one of its suckers. It then ate said octopus before moving onto a bigger challenge - a blue whale!
It manages to kill it, Jenson tells me, by sticking its tentacles in the whale's gills leaving it unable to breathe and therefore forcing it to let go of it. I love how the information that children retain gets recalled from their memories in ways and connections that only children can make. This, for example, was something Jenson remembered watching on Blue Planet but instead of a whale, an octopus had stuck its tentacles in the gills of a shark. He understands that whales breathe through blow holes but I guess none of that really matters when it comes to imaginative play! What I also love is that every now and then, Jenson would say to Wren, "A blue whale is coming past if you want to say hello!"