Actively Involve Children as They Investigate Common Basic Materials
The more that materials basic to the child’s world are involved in the learning process, the more authentic the learning experience becomes. This authenticity motivates children to more actively involve their minds in causing changes to occur. Toys become interesting to children because they can manipulate and control the actions of the toys. Children want to explore how to make the toy make noise, light up, or move. When they find the on/off switch for a TV, they continue to keep pushing the button until an adult takes action. Children like to cause things in their environment to be active. It gives them a feeling of power. This is critical for their development. When they understand that they can control basic objects around them, this power becomes a catalyst for their curiosity.
The materials found to be the most useful when used with young children are the most simplistic. For instance, blocks and balls can hold a child’s interest for extended periods. The child can explore and experiment. How high can I stack the blocks? How high does the ball bounce? These materials also encourage imagination. The blocks become a road, a house, a barn for their animals.
Many basic games and puzzles expand children’s understanding of basic numerical concepts. Games that encourage sorting, sequencing, seriating, patterning, counting, color identification, and geometric shapes should be available. Experiences that encourage children to manipulate basic objects such as rocks into different groups are valuable for developing basic mathematical ideas and concepts.
Preferably, activities that promote children’s personal accomplishments cooperation and collaboration should be used. Competitive experiences should be kept to a minimum.
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