Thursday, November 13, 2014

Figuring it out

My work is not repetition. It is an exploration. (Guido Molinari)

When a child struggles to fit a piece to a puzzle, when he struggles to keep a tower from falling, or when he struggles to remember what comes after three; how do you respond?  How long do you wait?  When is the right moment?

Letting children play without helping, without showing, is sooooo hard to do.  It's like an itch you want to scratch badly, but you shouldn't, because it will only make it worse.

Last month my two and a half year old pulled out a box that he's never used before; a wooden box that houses four different twelve piece puzzles.  I watched him try to force two pieces to fit together, try another, turn it, and try some more.    

Pretty soon he was fitting a couple together. "You're matching the pictures." I told him.

He seemed to realize what I said because he was matching more pieces together, and looking for other pieces with letters when he found one with letters on it.

He isn't proficient with puzzles, but he was figuring it out without me directing him, and when he got stuck he asked for help.

Once they were all put together he did not want them to be put away....

They became a display on the table for weeks.

Occasionally, he took the puzzles apart and put them back together, mostly, over and over again.

He was figuring out how to manipulate these new objects.

I don't believe he would have explored the same puzzles for weeks had I showed and instructed him; as an MIT article here suggests,

Had I not simply stated what he was doing with the puzzle pieces, he may not have discovered that they will fit together sometimes even if the pictures don't match.

There's something to be said for modeling and doing as you would like your child to do.

Sometimes they need to figure it out on their own, no showing, no telling.  And that moment will come once YOU figure it out!

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

How You See It Matters

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
-W.B. Yeats

We project a lot onto our children about how we perceive things in this world; the way we behave, the way something tastes, how things feel to us, what is or isn't beautiful, scary, or fun.

We unintentionally cloud their view of things sometimes before they have a chance to focus and make a decision for themselves about it.

Teaching children about the world is not always black and white.  When they encounter something new, taking a step back and observing them taking it in will tell you a lot about what they see.

You may be surprised at how children will react...

What you see is neither right nor wrong, but how you see these things matters because it's what you are encouraging them to see.  

Are your kids aware of your perceptions?

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Building A World

Every now and then I am tempted to buy one of those "cool" play sets with the bright colors, the moving parts, the loud sound effects, and the large amount of floor space they take up.  My boys love to try them out in the aisle of the toy store; turning cranks, spinning wheels, and making battery operated noises that repeat over and over.

Then I remember why I don't buy them...

I don't buy them because there is an alien waiting to go down a slide into an unknown land on the back porch.

I don't buy them because there is a catapult sitting on a castle wall filled with Lego bricks, waiting to be launched into a box in the play room.

I don't buy them because the tallest bed that can turn into a house for baby animals is being built on the table.

I don't buy them because there is a tree house haunted by ghosts near one of our windows.

I don't buy them because we can create our own play scenes from our imagination.
We can change them,
add onto them,
knock them down,
start them over,
make them better,
make them different,
make them our own.

My boys are building a world they see through their eyes,
a world they are trying to make sense of,
a world they are trying to understand,
a world they are learning from.

What kind of worlds do your children love to build and create?

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