Friday, October 31, 2014

Use What You Have: A Quick and Easy Activity to Get Brain and Body Moving

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The other day, I had to run out for a few minutes while my husband was sleeping and my kids were awake.  Instead of lulling my children toward good behavior with screentime, I opted to use what we have at home to engage them in multi-sensory learning and fun.

I grabbed two puzzles they had not seen in a while from our stash - Melissa & Doug's 48-piece Endangered Species Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle and an 18-piece Great American Puzzle Factory zoo train floor puzzle with extra large pieces.  The first, I thought, would entertain Luke and challenge Nina, while the second would be at a level Jack with his siblings' help, could handle.  Both would get the children moving their bodies and engaging their brains as they pieced the puzzles together.

Then, on one of our Wall Pops Peel and Stick Dry Erase Message Boards, which I recently scored on sale at Staples, I drew a Venn Diagram for the kids and reviewed what it can be used for.

With that, I left the children with a challenge:

Complete the puzzles.  Examine them.  See what you might write on the Venn Diagram.

When I returned, I found the children safe, happy, having completed the puzzles and just beginning to sketch an image at the center of the Venn Diagram to capture one of their ideas.  Upon their request, I acted as a secretary to fill the rest of their ideas in on the diagram.  As I did, I was impressed with just how carefully the children inspected the two puzzles to find similarities and differences and pleased with how well the impromptu activity had turned out.  Thus, I felt compelled to share it here.  I hope it inspires you to liven up an old game or toy with a new learning twist!

What are some ways you use what you have around to enourage fun and learning?


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