JustaBXgirl had spring break around Easter. The day she got back to class one of her teachers remarked how the students looked like zombies. She mentioned that she knew that their brains turned to mush over break. This frustrated me so much that I am still thinking about it. I’m thinking about it still because it made me realize that this woman with the title educator must believe that learning only happens in a classroom setting. It made me sad because if this teacher believes that then how many average parents believe it too. If many parents believe it then that means that littles are learning that at school and at home that the only way to learn is when an adult is standing in front of them doing the teaching!
I wasn’t really planning on doing a Toy School post after I did a Smart Art post. Overhearing the teacher though made me change my mind. In fact this month, I want to share items that you really might think have NOTHING to do with learning to once again remind you that learning is EVERYWHERE. Our children’s brains do not turn to mush when they are away from the classroom. In fact, they can expand in ways that the classroom limits when given the space and freedom to do so.
Monster Jam – Fire and Ice – Not only are do Monster Jam vehicles feature official BKT tires, stylized chrome rims and embody the style and swagger of the real life trucks you see in the show they give your little the opportunity to create their own Monster Jam experience. Imagination is critical to learning. Often though, our littles are told to stop creating only to later be told they can’t create solid arguments or engage in critical thinking. If we don’t give them the space to build those world as children, how can we expect them to truly participate as adults. Allow a child to build literacy by creating a story about their play world. Allow a child to define the difference between fire and ice by how they see these vehicles through their own lenses and perspectives.
Scritterz – These little guys are so much fun. They, much like our littles respond to touch, sounds, and even each other. They even speak their own language! You can download and app to go with the critter and use them as a way to showcase the importance in our society of speaking a second language. They’re also tons of fun to watch videos with. A lot of children are looking for new ways to socialize these days and these littles critters can feel like a new friend!
Wacky Packages Mini – JustaBXgirl and I adore these. They are truly hilarious. They take me back to Garbage Pail Kids in my youth. And to her, they are just the silliest, funniest thing ever. She loves to use them to play pranks on her dolls. I like sitting and going over what she has and what it is a play on from real life. This is a great way to practice reading and seeing if your little can spot the difference between what’s in your cupboard and what they unbox!
Magicube Magnetic Building Blocks – Okay, you can easily see how these can be a learning toy. I can’t help it. We really love them Even though they are safe enough for one year old littles to play with, my eight year-old still adores creating things. They can be used to help identify shapes and colors. They can be used for counting. They can be helpful towards hand eye coordination. The opportunities are endless and so is the play!
Next time that you feel the desire to tell your little to stop playing and pick up a book or do a worksheet please take a moment to see what they truly are doing through play. Sometimes you will still tell them to read or write but other times you will see the lessons that they are getting are so much more than you ever imagined.