Using lids to play with a purpose in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on August 3, 2010

in Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Infant and Toddler, Mathematics, motor skills, The Value of Play

I have been collecting small lids from milk jugs and juice jugs. I don’t really have a lot but I keep the ones I have saved in a small plastic pickle jar that I saved as well. To the untrained eye, these lids look like… well they just look like lids.

But what I see is an opportunity to invite Wy to play with a purpose.

I set the jar filled with lids on the floor for Wy to explore. Wy starts by dumping all of the lids out of the jar.

Then Wy sits and takes the lid on and off the pickle jar…

And then Wy starts to line up the lids…

I took the opportunity to talk with Wy about the color of each lid…

As long as Wy stayed interested, I took advantage of the opportunity to talk with him. We made patterns with the lids and counted how many lids could fit inside the big lid.

And then Wy discovered if he stepped on a lid he could slide across my hardwood floor!

Through out the time, we were playing with a purpose….

What was the purpose? We got in a little practice with math, patterning, color recognition, spacial awareness, and counting.

We explored balance and strengthened large motor skills while sliding across the floor.

We wrapped up the experience with a little clean-up fun by putting all the lids back in the jar.

In the end, Wy enjoyed getting to play but all the while and without knowing it, Wy was learning. That is what playing with a purpose is all about!

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