Althea has always built towers. It has been an enduring interest since she could stack two blocks on top of eachother. Ottilie is partial to a tower, usually when her sister is in the middle of a construction project. But mostly she likes to carry her baby dolly around, pushing him in the pram or waterboarding him in the water tray. It wasn’t until I observed Ottilies individual interests that I realised how motivated Althea is by structures.
We are so fortunate that we have been able to invest in some open ended building blocks in various shapes, sizes and guises and for her third birthday we started a collection of magformers. But they are not necessary. During this period of staying home we will scavenge what we can from the recycling bin to keep things novel and interesting. Boxes, tubes, pots, use whatever you can get your hands on.
The other day I decided to pick up a copy of Iggy Peck the Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts (you don’t have to buy a copy of this book to enjoy it, check with your local library to see if they have an ebook copy or you can find read aloud versions on YouTube )
This has pushed her in new directions, she’s spending a lot of self-directed time drawing houses, making homes from magformers, creating enclosures with blocks and building sofa forts with her Dad.
I am sharing this with you here to show you how simple it can be to ‘follow the child’ and facilitate and extend an ‘episode of learning’ which may well turn into a more prolonged ‘project’. I intend to have a search for some documentaries that might be relevant and appropriate and look for some photographs of inspiring architecture, as well introduce new (free, upcycled) materials to further extend this interest for as long as she is interested.
I expect this will branch off into different lines of inquiry. I’ve noticed that her drawings are made up of black lines and simple shapes and so this week I plan to use black and white architectural drawings alongside charcoal as a provocation.
Note: If you have an avid builder in your midst then the content of this ‘episode of learning’ might very well appeal to your child. But what I am suggesting here is that you tune in to your own child’s interested. What do they enjoy playing with? What do they ask questions about? You really do not need to buy anything, you do not have to spend hours planning, you just have to listen.
I’d love to hear what interests you and your child are developing into ‘episodes of learning’ or even projects!
If you would like to read more about starting projects with young children I recommend the book ‘Project based homeschooling’ by Lori Pickert available on kindle