thinking skills

Play with Lego and Duplo: Good Work-out for Brains

early learning with Lego and DuploPlay and work are considered to be opposites, but for children play is serious business; kids play hard and play requires lots of brain power. Making sure kids have time to play is one of the best ways that we can support their learning, development, and kindergarten readiness.  It would be so interesting if these pictures of kids playing with Lego and Duplo showed what was happening in their minds because their brains are building as they build with their hands.

One of the thinking strategies that kids practice is problem-solving. For this boy with Duplo, as he continues to build the single tower, which is already leaning, it will fall over earlier than the one with the double tower. You can see that the double one is linked with wider blocks. At some point, the child will figure out how to solve the problem of towers falling over and then he can make a tower which is more stable.

problem-solving with LegoFor the older child, there are lots of questions about how to make the vehicles move, where to put the wheels, how to build up without making the vehicles top heavy. He’s had to find many solutions. Sometimes, kids ask for help but often they rely on their own trial and error to help them with answers.

Moving and stability are just 2 of the challenges. Think of other questions and answers that kids might need: how to create a window and build above it, making a part that sticks out in mid-air, not blocking a wheel so that it can’t move, how to go around a corner without leaving a space, and more.

This is only 1 thinking skill or strategy that kids practice when they play with Lego and Duplo. There are many more. No wonder it’s such a good work-out for brains. Part 2 will be the strategy of decision making and to be fair, the pictures will be from 2 girls. Will your child’s day have some time for fun, play, and brain exercise with Lego or Duplo?

Kindergarten Readiness Fun & Learning Fall Activity #3

developint kindergarten readiness1, 2, 3, I’m as tall as a tree, in a shadow that is. Today’s fun, learning, and kindergarten readiness play-of-the-day has been inspired by shadows –and fall sun.

There were a few sunny breaks in the day where we could go outside, but not until later in the afternoon, so it was a good time for some shadow play. Did you know that making comparisons is a critical thinking skill? For kids to be able to say that something is as big as something else, they need to be able to think of both of the objects and picture them together.

developing early critical thinking skillsNot all comparisons will be things that children can see. They may also be comparing actions or events, like “I had a longer time to play yesterday.” That requires memory. We’ve all heard kids say “I’m bigger than you are.” Or faster, or smarter, or older, or dirtier, or hungrier, etc. When making a comparison, children are not just passively looking but actively processing the information.

Comparing is not just a thinking skill, it can also be a strategy. Whoever is hungrier gets to eat first or whoever is older gets to stay up later. (It may not always be an efficient strategy but it’s worth a try.) Comparing three gets even harder.

Besides making comparisons, it was fun to play with the shadows. Stepping on a shadow head doesn’t hurt. Shadows can change sizes and make strange shapes. It’s fun to jump up and try not be attached to a shadow. Not for long! Will the weather let your child have some fun in the fall with shadows?