1 Little, 2 little, 3 little valentines. At the thrift store today, we found a bag of 28 plastic hearts in 3 colors that gave us a whole afternoon of fun and learning, and let Big Sister and Little Sister practice some thinking skills kindergarten readiness skills while they played.
Big Sister noticed the bag of hearts first and played with them during Little Sister’s nap. Carefully, she took each one out of the bag. The lids had popped off some of them, and she had to really wiggle the tops to get them back on. Although it was difficult, she was quite determined. Then, she lined them all up in 3 rows, sorting them by color. The red ones made the longest line. When I asked why the red line was so long, she said because there were more. While that answer is obvious to us, that’s a tricky concept. In order for there to be more of something, it must be compared to something else.
As I looked at the rows, I said “red, almost white, pink. That could be a pattern.” Big Sister liked that idea, and began a pattern, although her order was red, pink, dirty white. When she ran out of room one way, I suggested to keep going from the other end. She couldn’t build from the other end, because “The pattern doesn’t work that way.” Adults know that patterns can go from either end, but kids do not see that until they are ready. Patterning is an important higher order thinking skill and helps the brain deal with large amounts of information.
Little Sister woke up and wanted to play too. She practiced counting, skipping a few numbers, but has connected the idea of saying a number and pointing to one item. Afterwards, she clutched a heart in each hand and wandered around with them for awhile. Big Sister hid some of them for Little Sister to find. She wasn’t particularly interested, so Big Sister found them herself. She invented some rules for her personal game and enjoyed both the hiding and the finding. Then she hid some tiny things inside them.
Children will play with toys or other objects at their own level of understanding. The occasional question or comment may have extended their play, but only as they were ready. These little items came with a big amount of learning and fun. We ♥ thrift stores. Do you and your child too?
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