Monday, May 16, 2011

A Lesson in Plopping

So, my son and I went dumpster diving at Karl's (the local appliance store)  No worries, when you call and ask them to save some boxes they tell you, "oh, just come and dig in our dumpsters" so THAT is what I did. 

My friend Jen had discovered the most wonderful treasure a few months ago, the fantastic cardboard pieces that hold an appliance nice and snug in the box.  These beauties remind me of rain gutters.  PERFECT for some ramp play and who knows what else!  So my son crawled in and came out with eight of these glorious pieces of cardboard.

When we got home, I just plopped them on the daycare floor to await their destiny.

Monday morning, the daycare kids came in and there was an instant buzz surrounding these strange new additions to our space.  I didn't say a word.  I didn't tell them what they were, where they came from or anything, I just stepped back and observed. 

The first thing I heard was "Wow!  Look at these guys!"  then I heard "Look Nita! I'm taller then this one" and "Whoa!  This one is waaaaay bigger then me!"  A good 20 minute exploration of measurement followed.  They were sorting the new toys by size, they were figuring out who was the same size as each of them.  They were imagining what animals might be the same size, imagining giraffe necks and gorilla arms.  Then, the moment I anticipated finally happened, but not at all in the way I had imagined.

Jack announced that he was the same size as the one he was holding....but wait a minute Ty made an important observation and said "Oh no you aren't Jack!  LOOK!  You are holding it like a slide!  Let me hold it. I KNOW it is taller then you"  The word "SLIDE" is all it took for the ramp rompous to begin!  They were working together, problem solving, taking turns and being down right creative in order to get cars, then ping pong balls, then rubber balls of all sizes to make it down the ramp.  THEN, they decided to make the ramp turn. 

Do you see the learning here?!  Holy cats there is learning all over the place!  More learning then I could have EVER planned ahead for!  I knew they would eventually make ramps out of these cardboard delights, but I would have never guessed they would first provide themselves with a nice lesson about measurement, and same and different, and bigger and smaller.  I could have never planned such fantastic conversations bursting with learning.

Thank goodness I have learned the value of plopping and stepping back.  It's hard to do, but so worth it in the end!  It counts!