Sunday, October 27, 2013

My 3 year old and Play Learning

Does he know his abc's?
How high can he count?
Does he know how to spell his name?

...questions people ask me at the time Clark had his 3rd birthday.

Answer: ahhh. no.

I brushed it off at first. His abc's, counting and spelling abilities where hit and miss - normal for a boy I thought. But I kept being asked those same questions by people from all different backgrounds (i wonder if his height made people think he was older???). I began doubting myself and panicked about my lack of a plan to help him grasp the basics. I did learn quickly, however, Clark had ZERO interest in sitting down and achieving those goals. none. zippo.

I cornered my friend Emilee Morris. In my circle of friends, she is known as the best preschool teachers ever. Talking to her took the pressure off of what I assumed i needed to make help clark learn.

Through several conversations I mentally switched from the product of learning to the process that works for 3 year olds - playing. She helped me get a visual of how play learning would excite Clark and how I could create a culture of learning where he would lead and learn to love learning.

Thanks Em!

I have a feeling, it will be completely different for Elsa at 3, but we'll cross that bridge when it gets here.

Here is a peek into how we roll...with my all-boy 3 year old.

Clark’s 3 year old “Play Learning” unspoken Rule # 1
“If I create it, I want to destroy it. thanks mom.” 
:: it is the process and time spent with him that’s important, not the product ::
Sheesh. Forget displaying art.
Think itty bitty chopped up pieces.  

Unspoken Rule # 2
 “I like to do what I see daddy do” 

Daddy's old blueprints
  Hello! He had to “doow to work.”

Clark’s 3 year old “Play Learning” Rule # 3
 “YES! I want to
dot a dot
….BUILD it”
:: glue, glue, glue::
“run, run, run”

Clark’s 3 year old “Play Learning” unspoken Rule # 4
 “If you let me hunt I will do whatever you say”  
Sheesh this testosterone stuff starts young.
Mix learning and booming (nurf gun practice) meant he would…
…boom and collect letters stuck on the wall written via sticky notes (hello abc educational activity)
…boom activity pages hanging in the doorways. (eye hand coordination) 
…boom specific colors around the house (color identification)
Simple – yes. Traditional – NOPE. Fun – check. 

Clark’s 3 year old “Play Learning” Rule # 4b
 “If you let me
be by myself
talk with you about hunting, bears or tractors
…I am up for anything. 
Outline of a bear, tree, and tractor respectably + modge podge + noodles = an entire 40 minutes of sit at the TABLE focusing.

Clark’s 3 year old “Play Learning” unspoken Rule # 5
“Trucks are important to a man”
He will load a truck with any supplies we need for an activity. Dirt. leaves. rocks. sticks.

Clark’s 3 year old “Play Learning” unspoken Rule # 6
“anything that requires lots of energy makes school funj”

Since January his favorite color has been  yellow.

Clark really likes
 coloring with a yellow marker,
drawing a yellow sun,
painting with yellow paint
…HUNTING for things of his “favorite color.”

 Easter Yellow hunt
Finding all the random yellow items in our house with Avery

He is full of drive. Since i married his carbon copy this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Clark’s 3 year old “Play Learning” Rule # 7
“Talk about what we can do, do it, and then talk about what we did.”

….and then chop it (daily picture journal) up in itty, bitty pieces. Thank you very much.
:: It’s the mother and son conversation not the construction paper that matters::
And not to forget all the 3 year old “why” questions.
His attempt to PLAY conversation
…so the LEARNING part was teaching him a good follow up question between every 1,500 WHY questions.

Easier said than done! 

Clark’s 3 year old “Play Learning” unspoken Rule # 7
”Anything that involves a trip to Home Depot is a happy day”
…Helping Mommy make a list of supplies to create a play area under the deck

so mom can drag both kids to home depot and gets all the supplies for a weekend project.

Mommy’s “Play Learning” Bottom line

They will grow up faster than I think…

1 comment:

Hollie said...

Beautiful. You are spot on, Momma!