Monday, April 23, 2012

Simply, a Squiggle

Who knew....
one simple, 3-4 foot piece of yarn could equal a morning literally loaded with learning? 

Call it a squiggle, throw the mystery word, "imagine" in the mix and WAH LAH!, learning in it's purest form. 

Motivated, fearless learning lead by trial and error, cause and effect, talking, sharing, teamwork, imagination, pride, invention, problem solving and pure, pure fun all sparked from a well-placed, purposeful plop (see definition below)! 

Plop (plop!) n:  a book, song, word or object that has the ability to inspire imagination, play and curiosity.  It acts as a catalyst to spark all sorts of fantastic learning opportunities.  

The only direction I gave when the children each picked up their own squiggle was:
"IMAGINE!  What could your squiggle be?"

A child's imagination is different then that of an adults.  A child's is on standby or ready alert at all times, ready to imagine at a moment's notice.  Adults, on the other hand, sometimes have to wake up their imagination from a deep sleep and give it a chance to freshen up before it is able to deliver.
Test your imagination with the following pictures.  See how yours stands up to the imagination of a child!!  You will find the "answer" at the end of the blog.  Keep in mind, this is your there are no wrong answers....simply different answers.  See if you can think like a child!



 As play usually works, one thing led to another.  When Avery discovered she could use her squiggle for fishing, it was as if a brand new world was invented! Suddenly the previously, unspoken boundary of making something on the floor with your squiggle no longer existed.  Suddenly, the squiggle could be something that you could hold in your hand.

Avery used her squiggle to make a pond
for Jack to go fishing in!

Ethan decided he wanted to catch something real...which opened up even
MORE possibilities!

In an instant, Avery's moment of fishing transformed the environment into a room full of tying and pulling.  There was problem solving, trial and error and teamwork going on everywhere you looked.  The squiggle had become a tool, a means to move something. 
Ty is pulling the bucket around the room.  Bergen is making
a fish.

Bergen was the first to pull a chair around....and then, the addition of passengers was genius!!

Two year old Lindsey decides pulling stuff around looks like fun.
So she goes to work wrapping a bucket with her squiggle.

It doesn't take long....

before she realizes her method did not work. 
Failure did not keep her from trying again!

Across the room, Ethan is also learning through trial and error, persistance and problem solving.  I was amazed at his dedication to pulling the pirate ship.  He wanted to succeed so very badly.
Try after try, with each try involving lots of small motor work and eye hand coordination.

Finally, he was successful and the pirate ship set sail across the wide open ocean!

Alayna was VERY proud of her discovery!!
When a child found success, they were quick to share their method with others.  Look at Alaynas method above.  Prior to this discovery, everyone was wrapping buckets with the squiggle in order to pull them around holding onto one piece of the squiggle.  Alayna's idea triggered even more problem solving!

In the photo below, we see Jack.  Jack has never been a follower.  He prefers to play his own way, and that play always ends up with a grand discovery.  Notice the squiggle in the container?  He discovered if he dropped his arm very swiftly, the squiggle would come flying out!  Children are natural scientists.  He repeated the flying squiggle over, and over, and over again.  Each time with the same amount of success.  He also tried fancier moves with his arms to see if it affected the flight pattern of the squiggle.  I was mesmerized watching his process of learning.
If one squiggle is fascinating to watch take flight...imagine two!  Working together, Jack and Molly test drive two squiggles.

So then.  How does your imagination compare with that of a child?

PHOTO A:  A pirate head (wearing a pirate hat)
PHOTO B:  A turtle (created by a 2 yr old I might add)
PHOTO C:  A hood (like the hood of a jacket) :)
PHOTO D:  A balloon

One last thing....there is a book called "The Squiggle" but please, don't read it to your children prior to their squiggle exploration.  See what their amazing minds can create with the squiggle first!!  Maybe even make your own book called "The Squiggle"!!

Also -- if you don't have this worries!!  The book does NOT make the activity!  While it's nice to have a book to go along with an activity, it's not always necessary!  Don't let the fact that you do not have "The Squiggle" keep you from plopping squiggles!

Did you notice all the learning inspired from a piece of yarn?!  A simple piece of white yarn.  See the learning in the simple.  Acknowledge the learning sparked from the simple.  Remember ALL learning counts..... learning in PLAY COUNTS too!!!