Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Boat Making Co-op Lesson

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Reading, Science, Pre-Engineering and Social Time with residual fun.  Now that’s what I call a successful morning of Co-op!

Look what I made!
Last week, in honor of Columbus Day, the moms from our informal Creative Kids Co-op wanted to make boats.  Since we have a hand-me-down water-and-sand table plus two sizable plastic sand-sensory boxes we could fill to float boats in, I offered to host our gathering group at my house.  I thought it would be beautiful outdoor morning with our co-op friends.

Enter threatening rain!

I went to bed Thursday night knowing that a boat-building extravaganza in the front yard might be off and that a last-minute lesson plan to keep the kids engaged inside was in order.  No problem! 

On Friday morning, after quick tidy of our front rooms  and clearing of items in and around our sinks and tub (just in case we needed them to float the boats in), the fun began.   (Okay, well it began after I got drenched by a sudden downpour while pulling the sandboxes into our front yard just in case anyone wanted to use them despite rain, as well as after I dried off, the rain subsided and Jack decided to take a swim (fully dressed!) in the sandbox pools as Luke and Nina filled them in preparation for their friends to come.)

Many of our friends arrived with pre-made boats in hand. Two of our young girl guests also brought lovely little pictures they had created as hostess gifts.  (So sweet!)  And, one mom brought the most delicious pumpkin bread for snack.  Yum! 

Jack snuck over to help himself to the pumpkin bread.

After greetings,  and once the young ones had satisfied their curiosity by exploring our play kitchen corner and the kids’ room, I asked all the children to settle onto a blanket on our living room floor and began our lesson:

  • We had a quick chat about who Columbus was and why we celebrate his day.
  • Then, I told a paper-folding story adapted from one I learned in Japan years ago of a boy who wanted to be a sailor. 

  • Then, in response to some questions and suppositions the children were making about air and water, I spontaneously decided to do a simple experiment I know about these concepts that utilizes just a glass, a bowl and a tissue.  (I will post directions for this soon.)
  • Finally, it was boat time.  We took a picture of all the children with some of their pre-made boats. 

Creative Kids Co-op Boat Making Morning

Those with boats made went outside to test them.  (Praise God for showers that had passed!) 

Those, like my children, who had yet to make their boats gathered materials from our buffet of recyclables, tape, fasteners and other supplies and set to work with their designs, building a variety of boat structures
Boat Making Buffet

They tested these and their friends came in to design more.

Testing New Designs

Lesson ended, we enjoyed snack and closed the morning with jumping on the bed!  (Yes, Luke and Nina’s friends were happily surprised to learn that we allow jumping on Nina’s and Jack’s mattresses in our home.  I only wish I had thought to take a photo of them all bouncing up and down with glee.)

Overall, our Boat-Making Co-Op gathering was a fantastic morning, which proved some things I already knew, but sometimes enjoy being reminded of:

  • Not every lesson needs to be meticulously planned well in advance.  Sometimes lessons thrown together at the last minute are the most fun and fruitful!
  • Kids are amazingly creative and bring a dimension to design adults have difficulty imagining.
  • It doesn’t matter if one’s house is less-than-clean-and-organized.  A home is a place where friends are welcomed and when, indeed, they do visit, life is good.  Make that great!
  • You never know what will light a fire in a child’s imagination.

Luke and Nina continued to want to design new boats throughout the weekend and even made me laugh by gathering figurines to take people to “the new land” during tubbie times.

Note the passengers in the boat.

And do you see the "New Land" over by the bottle on the tub ledge?
What spontaneous studies have you enjoyed lately?  Do you have any “back pocket” stories or experiments that you pull out as needed?  What fun have you been having with informal co-ops or on playdates?  Do share in a comment.

 This post is being shared at Homeschool Creations Preschool Corner and 5K, too, where you will find many fabulous ideas for teaching little ones!


jazzygal said...

What a fabulous fun-filled day! My guy is a bit older but still enjoys stuff like that. hard to do with just one I find. His current experiment is watching his latest molar that fell out dissolving in a small amount of coke! He does like to bake stuff with me,which is fun even though I'm not the best cook in the world!

xx Jazzy

Martianne said...

Cool experiment with the tooth, Jazzygal. Your little one might enjoy the Fetch or design Squad lessons from PBS, which are available online with a google search. They can be done alone.

Beth ( said...

What fun activities! Looks like great fun. I would love for you to com elink up at TGIF Linky Party


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