Monday, August 20, 2012

Cornmeal Racetrack... (The First 3 Days)

It's been a little over a month
since I first spilled the cornmeal...
(the day that I began to see more)

and within this time I have been documenting it all
and I am sure that one day I will look back, grateful for

Ordinary Moments,
Extraordinary Memories!

Here are some of the activities that we have enjoyed...

Cornmeal and Funnels

What I did:

I put cornmeal in the sensory table and provided funnels,
turkey basters, cups and spoons of various sizes 


What they did:

The children explored for a bit before bringing
other items to the table, declaring that they were
going to make cupcakes and open a cupcake shop!

I see more:

The children extending the activity did not surprise me. 
I was surprised, however, that as they saw me taking pictures
of the activity, they asked me to film them for their "cooking show".

(I was heartbroken that my battery was too low)

Lesson Learned:

Charge the battery next time so I can fulfill their request. 
There is no telling how far they would have taken this idea
had I been prepared to follow their lead.  Child initiated activities
are so important for healthy growth and development
and missed opportunities like this are impossible to get back!

Helpful Tip:

Before you begin... know your children.  Where are they
developmentally?  Are there any allergies?  Are they ready
for this type of activity? Are there cultural sensitivities
that would make playing with food inappropriate?

Beans and Cornmeal

What I did: 

I put the cornmeal in the sensory table, mixed in a bag of dry
beans, and brought dinosaurs from the dramatic play area.

(Social- Emotional Development,
and Language and Literacy)

What they did:

Launched their dinosaurs into "full attack" mode accompanied
by full-on sound effects.  One of the children collected eggs
from the dramatic play kitchen area, and informed 
that it was so the dinosaurs "could hatch their babies".

Helpful Tip:

Once you have set out an activity for children, be approachable. 
Let them bring whatever they feel will make the area complete.
If needed, offer an invitation and keep the ownership neutral
"What else can we do here?  Do you have any other ideas for this area?"

Cornmeal Racetrack

What I did:

Created a "start to finish" desert racetrack.

(Social-Emotional Development, Language and
Literacy, Mathematics, Directional Awareness)

What they did:

The looks on their faces made my day as they gasped
in awe and started claiming their cars.  We're off to the races!

Lesson Learned: 

Don't underestimate your kids. 

Remember to keep it fun, but if they are
ready for more of a challenge... give them more!

Helpful Tip

Adapt this experience to make it challenging for older children. 
For instance, to build upon the Mathematics foundation
(for older preschoolers) let children pull numbers out of a bowl,
and count out that number of spaces with the car of their choice. 
(Or for school age children) Jot down several appropriate
math problems, and when children answer correctly,
they get to move forward the number of spaces. 

The first one to cross the finish line wins the game. 

Most of all, be creative and listen to ideas from the children.

(Click here to check out days 4 and 5)

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