Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Learning Through Games

I discovered the PERC (Parents Education Resource Center) at my local library yesterday.  It's a small room in the basement of the library crammed FULL of toys, games, and educational materials.  I really mean crammed and I really mean full.  It was overwhelming.  I'm quite certain they've saved decades of educational materials and I'm extremely excited to dig around for flannel boards and file folder games to fit my lessons perfectly (and those just to get started...).

Today we played one of our newly borrowed games. It was educational for both Beck and me.  Here's how:

The Dice: My instinct was to shout out the number immediately after Beck rolled.  I started thinking about how I look at the dots and automatically recognize the number by their alignment, but he hasn't learned that yet.  I started making a conscious effort to stay quiet and let him count each dot individually to determine how many spaces he could go.  As we neared the end of our second round I noticed that there were numbers he was starting to recognize by shape without needing to count.

The Spaces: My husband and I have never been too strict about how Beck moves spaces when we're playing games, but today it felt right to let him know there are actual rules and ways to know how far he's supposed to go.  I guess it was really getting him to understand what "spaces" actually are.  He learned how to start counting at the very next space from where he landed last time and that each box represents one number or "space".  When we started he was scooting his piece random distances, but when we ended he was counting spaces just as well as he was counting dots.

The Creativity:  This is what Beck is continually teaching me.  At the end of our first game he wanted to play again and he wanted us both to have two playing pieces.  I assumed he meant we would each take two turns and move our pieces individually.  But just like when he taught me playing Candy Land, he had his own ideas again today.  Yes, he wanted us to both have two pieces, but he wanted them to travel together.  I got a little more excited to play another drawn-out round when I realized it was going to take us twice as long!

Also on my mind while we played was last night's episode of NBC's Parenthood.  (If you've never watched it, you definitely need to catch up on the back episodes and catch up.  It touches home every single week!)  In the episode one of the family's was confronted with the need to teach their 6-year-old how to lose graciously. I was glad today when I made it to the finish line first both times and Beck took it in stride.  The second time he kept playing and even enforced his own lose-a-turns.  He's pretty amazing.

Today's Teaching Your Children Joy activity:  
Look at photos of people in varying degrees of fitness
 and talk about what things help us to stay healthy and in good shape.

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