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Let's play with a purpose - a story about symmetry

Let's play with a purpose - a story about symmetry

Hi friends,

I’m so excited to share with you an activity that my son has been doing lately and some of the things he has created.  The activity uses a very low key, no technology toy, and is guaranteed to capture your child’s attention for a good 30-40 minutes.  The best thing I love about these activities is that your child will be learning through play!  They will be exploring and discovering on their own and it will give you opportunities as a parent to help teach them through their own play! 

During this time where we all seem to on Zoom at all hours of our lives, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep your kids engaged and occupied in quality activities.  The challenge is real, right?  When you know you are going to be on your computer for an hour at a time, as parents we struggle to find activities for our kids that we know will last that long.  If not, it never fails that we are going to get a surprise visitor from our “co-workers” on our Zoom call!

So, here are a few play-based learning activities that my son loves that I think your children will love, too! 

My son got these construction straws as a birthday gift about a year ago and they have been great because they grow with him.  He started just practicing pushing the straws and connectors together to make some basic shapes, but now he has grown to creating 3D shapes, and is creating stories and pretend play with what he makes. 

I looked at what he had been creating, and saw that he naturally made his designs symmetrical. I also looked at the LEGO creations he had been making.  He will spend hours creating a car, taking it apart, and putting it back together.  LEGOS are great to use for all kinds of learning activities. 

Check out this TikTok from @ot4kids on how she uses LEGO's for learning. 

 

 

 

I noticed that my son also liked to create cars and planes that were symmetrical.  Since he was naturally creating and playing this way, I thought this would be the perfect time to actually introduce symmetry with him and have him practice it.  

So, I set up a “symmetry” line on the floor and created different shapes with the construction straws on the top half.  Then I had him see if he could create the bottom half of the design, making the symmetrical mirror image.  This was a challenge for him, but he did a great job and it was a perfect, hands-on way for him to learn and practice this math concept. 

Using what your child is interested in or has a strength in is a perfect jumping off point for you as a parent to create a learning opportunity for them.  If we as parents can find the learning within the our children's play, then they will be much more likely to be interested in the learning as well as will retain what we teach them!  

We are going to try to create an art project with our Effortless Art Crayons using symmetry next, so stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram feeds for that!  Make sure you follow us so you don’t miss it! 

Speaking of new things, we just launched a new product on our marketplace, Stick Together Kits!  They are like paint by numbers, but for STICKERS!  They are the perfect indoor activity that will keep your child’s attention, AND, practice hands-on skills.  Check out their selection of kits HERE and look out next week for a new blog post showcasing our journey to create our sticker masterpiece!

If you have a great idea for non-technology toys or activity ideas that have kept your child occupied and learning during these past few months, share them in the comments!  We'd love to hear! 

Till next time,

Nancy 

 

Inclusion conversations should not discriminate

Inclusion conversations should not discriminate

            My son is trying to understand what he is overhearing in conversations between my husband, my family, and me.  He is five so he picks up a lot of what he hears, but doesn’t quite “get it” completely yet.  This makes it even more difficult, as he is forming his own ideas about what it means, and he is attaching his own fears and worries to it.  He hears things like, “riots, protests, windows being smashed, people stealing, and police” and these words sound very, very scary.  This is so foreign to him and outside of what he knows.  As a child, he believes in all that is good, kind, fair, right, and just, until he learns otherwise.  It is up to us, as his parents, to help him to always carry himself and uphold these ideas, and if he sees otherwise in the world, help him to know how to change it. 

            I was a special educator for 10 years in the K-12 schools, and now I work hard to teach and prepare future special education teachers.  I know the education system well and I know how to advocate for those with a disability.  My husband and I work hard to teach my son about all abilities and everyone’s strengths, no matter if they walk or roll up to the table, or if they have a conversation with you using their voice or their iPad.  We have taught him to see everyone as equally important and valued.  I am on the board of a non-profit that supports individuals and families who have been touched by a disability, and we have taken our son to community events where he met and played with other children from all walks of life, and with different abilities.  We wanted him to understand that there are differences everywhere with everyone, and that it is not something to be scared of.  We have done this because of our experience and our perspectives of disabilities, and because it is something that we think is important. 

            While we have actively educated our son on disability, we have not actively done so about race.  Why? It isn’t because we don’t believe it’s important, but because it’s not part of our daily experience, we haven’t pointed it out unless it was brought up.  Of course, we still talk about differences, differences in gender norms, in talents, in how we walk or move or talk, and in appearance, and that everyone is special and important, however, we have never called out race as a discussion point.  I assumed that because we are teaching our son to value differences, that we were addressing race along with it.  What I have come to learn in the past couple of days contradicts this idea.  I recently came across this research shared across accounts I follow, and I was very surprised about a lot of it. It speaks to the fact that all aspects of valuing and respecting inclusion in all forms and for all peoples needs to be explicitly taught and reinforced with our children, specifically race.

            I was floored by some of the research.  Some I knew, but much of it was surprising to me.  Moving forward, we will make a point to talk about topics with our son, that even though they are not part of what we may be experiencing, are important to his development and important for him to understand.  If not now, when? If not us, then who?  This is just the beginning of changes we will work to make so that hopefully, we, along with other parents, raise our children to be kind humans who will leave this world better than when they found it.

“We have a small window of time to nurture their minds.  That is your superpower.  Use it wisely. Make it count.”  ~Paula Kuka

Till next time,

Nancy