Every now and then I remember that Noah is the smallest, and that while we’ve done so many fun activities over and over, that was with the big kids, back when he was a baby. So to him, self-adhesive paper, sticky side up, is still magical!
I put together a quick and easy invitation to play one morning. It only took a few minutes to set up and I used scraps and bits and pieces and whatever I could find.. Nothing fancy, all items you could buy at the supermarket or find at home.
- A large play tray, but you could just do it right on the table.
- Some self-adhesive paper (contact), sticky side up, taped to the tray.
- A collection of materials – paper, corrugated cardboard, foam boards, bubble wrap, straws, wool, etc.
- Some googly eyes.
- Some sissors
He began experimenting with the sticky paper – What would stick well? What could be peeled off? Would it leave a mark when you peeled it off?
Once he was satisfied with the mechanics of it, he quickly got to work cutting and sticking, and snipping and rearranging, creating and experimenting.
While it took me less than five minutes to set up this little invitation to play, it really had a lot to offer.
As he enjoyed playing Noah was working on:
- Fine mother skills and eye hand co-ordination – scissor skills, pincer grasp and lots of small muscle hand and finger movements and skills that he needs for writing and many other life skills.
- Creativity and imagination.
- Representing his ideas with pictures, as well as using language to explain and express those ideas.
- Cause and effect, experimentation, logical thinking, and problem solving as he discovered what and how things stuck to the sticky paper.
- Self esteem, self confidence and independence as he worked on mastering the scissors on his own and creating his own ‘picture’ without any adult prompting.
It’s simple activities like these that allow our kids to integrate a whole range of skills and co-ordinate them to reach their own goals, and that allows for some really important learning opportunities.
Life skills, and even the basic academic skills we tend to worry about our kids learning such as reading, writing and basic maths, do not occur in isolation. To learn a task such as reading, our kids need to master a range of skills and get them all working together.
It sounds daunting and difficult, but it’s not.
You don’t need flash cards, or expensive classes, or fancy text books. It’s simple, open-ended, activities like this one that allow our preschoolers to practice and co-ordinate a range of skills which set them up to be successful learners in the future. And it’s opportunities to do these simple activities again and again, to work on skills and try out new ideas, that really cement that learning.