Christmas bows and boxes in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on December 7, 2010

in Activity Boxes, Classroom Management, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Professional Development, The Value of Play

The other day, I shared with you how our curriculum coordinator puts together activity boxes for the classrooms. I thought I would now show you one of the activities in action…

In this particular activity box, the children found boxes with numbers (1 – 5) printed on the outside and a set of Christmas bows.  The idea was for the children to identify the number on the box…

Then count out that many bows to put on the box….

But the children had their own idea of how to play this game. Most of the children preferred to open the boxes and put the bows inside the box….

Since the boxes were all different sizes, the children discovered that the smaller boxes did not hold as many bows as the bigger boxes…

This little girl counted her bows as she put them in the box, then took them all out and started over again…

She didn’t immediately start counting but as I walked passed and saw her putting each bow in the box, I began to count… “One bow”  then “Two”  then “Three” and then she began to count too.  You see – I was facilitating a little counting practice through her play without taking over her play…

This little boy filled his box with bows then worked and worked to get the lid to fit back on the box…

I made a mental note to make sure that next time we do this – to be sure the lids will go back on the box. I finally asked the little boy if he would like my help to close up the box. Together we put the lid back on and he walked all around the room with his box of bows tucked under his arm.

When we put together activity boxes we start with a plan of what we would like the children to learn or to experience but we know that in the end, the children will explore the items placed in the boxes in a way that is meaningful or interesting to them.

In the process of play, teachers can be facilitators of learning. To be a good facilitator of learning, the teacher needs to…

  • Let the play be open ended
  • Be an observer of children at play
  • Offer suggestions or comments that invite learning as the children play
  • Evaluate the process of play so that the activity box can be expanded or refined where needed for future reference

Something I want to note is that we do establish boundaries for the play when it comes to the activity boxes. The play is intended to be open ended but with respect to the materials, our friends, and the classroom as a whole.  There are times when redirection is needed to keep the play positive and productive but I have to say that because the activity boxes are a regular part of our daily program, the children are exceptionally successful with this process.

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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