Tired of the same old, same old? Super-size it and make the same old a brand new experience loaded with SUPER SIZED learning!
With a little imagination and cleverness, you can super-size almost any learning opportunity you currently provide young children.
WHY would you want to SUPER SIZE learning?
What happens naturally when children are presented with something SUPER SIZED?
1) They need to problem solve
2) They need to determine what they need, then ask for it. (whether it be people or tools to help them out)
3) They need to use more muscles.
4) They need to coordinate their bodies.
5) They need to collaborate with others.
6) They need to strategize.
7) They feel empowered!!
That's just a few of the benefits super sizing play (aka: learning) provides! This blog has some of the successful ways I have super-sized play and thus, the learning that goes along with it. Feel free to use these ideas, then put on your own thinking caps and clever pants and see what normal, everyday play opportunities you can supersize for super sized learning in your programs!!
Super Sized Marble Painting
All you need is a large, sturdy box (this is a treadmill box and it's HEAVY), large paper, paint and a variety of balls to supersize the typical marble painting!
|Look at the focus, the teamwork, the muscles and coordination!! This picture is at the beginning of the process, where the children are using trial and error to figure out how this is going to work.|
|Further into the process, they have learned that standing up helps with lifting the very heavy box. They have also named themselves "Parkers Side" and "Ty's Side" in order to coordinate the movement of the balls.|
Super Sized Playdough
Make at least 3 batches of homemade playdough..step back and watch out for super-sized learning!! I have used anywhere from 3-8 batches at a time! Plop the playdough onto the center of the table in ONE LARGE MOUND. Stand back, and let the children take the lead from here!
For extra fun, hide special items inside the playdough! Our favorites? "Monster Playdough" (only, I never told them it was monster playdough..they took what they found and created monsters out of it!!) "Treasure Playdough" (jewels and necklaces) and "Creepy Crawly Playdough" (plastic and rubber bugs!!) (for pictures of this playdough...go to my Facebook page, "Play Counts"!) and "Snowman playdough" (buttons, small wooden dowel pieces painted orange).
Keep in mind, when plopping a "theme" playdough...do NOT, I repeat do NOT lead the children -- follow them!!! They may not see what you see in the playdough and THAT'S OKAY!!! For example...the snowman playdough actually became "birthday cake" playdough! They used the "carrot noses" for candles!! :)
It takes more then just fingers to manipulate a large mound of playdough. Lindsey has found it necessary to use her entire arm in order to create enough pressure to smash the playdough down!
Have you ever seen a child manipulate a small batch of playdough with both of their ARMS?! I don't think so!
Little Trillian is feeling mighty fine about himself as he cuts through this massive, and challenging mound of playdough! Look at him working those all-important gripping muscles!!
|Practicing Social Skills|
This super sized mound of playdough has pirate treasure hidden inside. Super-sizing playdough gives the children the opportunity to share, cooperate, imagine, compromise, use more muscles in different ways and is just plain FUN!!
Super Sized Puzzles
Floor tiles found at Sam's Club make an AWESOME super-sized puzzle!
|Using Big Muscles is Empowering|
The fact that the puzzle piece is BIGGER then Erik is and HE IS STRONG ENOUGH TO HOLD IT!! This is extremely empowering for a young child.
As if staying on the path, safe from hot lava wasn't difficult enough...then the children added SNAKES to the challenge!
Bergen was the first to take the puzzle pieces and build UP with them. Very clever, very outside-the-box, and very impressive! This became a present game, and then a giant jack-in-the-box (ironically, that IS Jack in the box!!)
Super Sized Ramps
Read more about how this super-sized play evolved at my blog, www.playcountsdenitadinger.blogspot.com . You will find it under the category, "ramps".
Think outside the box for some SUPER SIZED ramp fun!
|Think Outside the Box|
When the children were telling me what they knew about ramps, one said "Hey! My nose is a ramp, Nita!". Another child quickly added to that by holding onto her long hair declaring it was a ramp too! This made me think outside the box for some super fun, super-sized indoor ramp fun!! Read more about this, and see more pics by clicking HERE.
|Trial and Error|
Setting up a super-sized ramp like the one above involves lots of trial and error, lots of problem solving (see the stack of containers to get the ramps exactlyl the right height and angle?)
Ella and Ty are debating the angle of the ramp. Ella wanted her ball to make a bouncing trail, while Ty wanted his to run smoothly across the paper.
|Organizing Bodies and Minds|
Super-sized play requires organization of thoughts and materials. I love how Avery is using her entire body in order to carry more balls. She obviously cares a great deal about staying clean (sarcasm here folks)
Super Sized Goop
If it's fun in smaller quantities...then it's over the top GRAND when you super-size it!! Take goop for example! This simple cornstarch and water mixture is a hit...especially when feet can get involved too! A simple dip in water cleans it right off!
|Yes please! Plenty of goop and space for free exploration!|
No explanation needed. Clearly, she is LOVING the opportunity to be IN goop! Super sized play provides super sized sensory experiences that awaken the senses and gets brains thinking of endless possibilities!
Author's Note: It is always a pleasure to share the wonderful cleverness of my young crew! All of the ideas you just saw began with a simple "plop" (click here for an explanation of a "plop"), then the children in my program led the rest of the way! If you liked what you just read, check out my blog for more!! www.playcountsdenitadinger.blogspot.com
See you next time!!
Professional Brain Developer and Defender of Play
I speak ENTHUSIASTICALLY FOR PLAY!!! Contact me for more information about the topics I present!!