Thursday, February 7, 2013

Problem Solving Play - Matching Dots

Problem solving can be incorporated into playful challenges for children using objects and items from around the house.  I am going to try to do a short series on some problem solving play challenges.  Here is the first one:
Match the Dots - 
1.  Materials: 4 index cards for each player, 4 stickers, matching set of objects for each player (ie wooden dowels, paintbrushes, pencils, pipe cleaners and tape).
2.  Set Up: Give each child 4 index cards that match the 4 stickers and the set of objects.  Place one set of stickers at least 2 feet away from a starting line.  In our house, we established a rule that your body had to remain on the wooden floor.  You could not touch the rug at all with your body.  We placed dot stickers anywhere from 2 feet to 5 feet away from the edge of the rug.
3.  The object of the game is to get each index card to touch anywhere on the sticker without ever touching the rug.  There is no time limit.
4.  The only instructions I gave were to match the cards and do not touch the rug. 
5.  Each child started out by just trying to use one dowel to move the card to the dot.  Very quickly they realized it was not long enough and began taping the objects together.
6.  They worked hard at creating a long stick out of 2 dowels and 3 paint brushes to be able to reach the index cards to the matching stickers.
7.  Then a lightbulb went off in one of them and they realized they could walk around the rug just not on it.  This brought them closer to one of the dots.

The kids enjoyed the activity and landed up repeating it several times moving the sticker dots each round. 

Stay tuned and next week hopefully I will post about another problem solving challenge.  Try some questions from the Creative Brain Series.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Using Apps to Make Books for Little Ones

My little one loves to make picture books with her in them.  We have cut out pictures of her and just glued them onto different scenes or just drawn some simple sketches.  Well, today we used the PhotoChop app on the iPhone to make a quick book about some imaginary adventures.

Basically you take a picture and erase everything except the person or face.  Then you can change the background.  You can upload your own background or use the ones that are right on the app.  Either print the picture directly to your wireless printer or email it to yourself and print it from the computer.

I imported the pictures into a software program and added text to her adventure book.  In total, this project took about 15 minutes.  My little one really enjoyed picking the background and helping to write the text.   

We have read the book at least 10 times since we wrote it this afternoon!