Learning Can Be Fun

>> Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm a firm believer in allowing a child to exercise their creative right, although at times I have to stop myself from telling the kids what to do when given a project, something brought on by habit I guess? I do catch myself in time and just allow myself to give suggestions, show that things can be done many different ways and then leave them to their devices.

Projects that involve artwork or anything that has to do with writing or drawing is really easier for Enzo as opposed to Teo, Enzo being the one who likes expressing himself by drawing. Teo just freezes if he has to do anything that involves drawing, he still struggles with his penmanship which looks like my grandfathers "chickenscratch" writing as we would call it then. Though I'm not too bothered because Teo excels in other arenas, like I discovered that because he is a voracious reader, his vocabulary is more extensive than his brothers. He can in fact best his brother in spelling. He remembers anecdotes and conversations in books read and always explains a word or phrase his brother might ask me about.

This of course sometimes leads so some brotherly competition and I constantly remind them when one feels and vocalizes that the other is better than the other, that they both have their strengths and weaknesses. I try to show them the value of what they are good at doing as opposed to making them feel bad because they cannot do a certain thing. I find that it helps to give them teams projects, allowing them to share their ideas, resolve their conflicts, find their niche, learn to cooperate and work as a unit.

As an example, one day we were watching some videos at brainpop.com, we were learning about the musculature system, skeletal system, and about cells. They were particularly drawn to a video about cells and the immune system which portrayed cells as different cartoon characters, very entertaining and educational, even I was educated. Tee hee! Anyway, the kids kept commenting that it would be nice to make a video game using the different cells as characters and battling the viruses and what have you that invades our bodies. I was amazed, what a great idea, fun and educational at the same time! So we decided on a project, sort of my way of rehashing what they learned. They were to translate what they learned and make it a game, not a video game though because not one of us knew how to do that but to use whatever materials we had on-hand like cartolina, paint, crayons, markers, scissors etc. After several attempts at drawing and coloring, they finally came up the outline of a human body - with the heart, liver etc in place and made it out to look like a board game and as game markers drew pictures of what would represent the different kinds of cells. It was agreed by both that Enzo would draw and Teo would help cut everything up and color. It was fun to watch them, best of all, it was great knowing that they did learn things and not only that, expressed what they learned in Science through Art. Bonus points, what a cool, cool game it is!

Oh by the way, we sat through the whole "Live Satellite Broadcast" of the recent solar eclipse in China at Exploratorium and what a wonderful experience that was, wish we could have been there to see it in actuality. Teo was so excited to see the moment of the full eclipse where the corona would be fully visible, he said "Mom my heart is pounding." I can imagine! We waited with baited breath and we were not disappointed, it was quite beautiful. I'm sure that though we did not physically see the actual eclipse, this experience will not be lost on them, we waited along with the thousands of people who journeyed to China just to witness this, felt their anticipation and got quite caught up in their moment making it our own. Along the way, we learned quite a few things too...

I highly encourage you to visit the site Exploratorium, loads of interesting stuff and resources. They've got a microscope imaging station and lots of after school or at home activities. We even discovered a video on a cow's eye dissection (I warn you, if you or your kids are squeamish don't watch it!) which was way way cool and helped us learn about the eyes.

Don't you wish learning was this fun when we were kids? I do!


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About This Blog

All about me, my musings, ramblings, fancies, quirks and dreams; the blessings in my life - the kids and their growing years; and my love for digital scrapbooking/design and graphic arts; and my eternal quest to keep learning something new each day and give back in my little way.

This blog used to be 3 blogs which I decided to merge together, my scrapping blog (Pandoras Box of Thought), the blog about my kids (Beyond the Four Walls) and my cooking/recipe blog (Cooking Mama) - all the old posts are still up but I've decided to just post everything in the future in one forum, with all the things I'm doing, I'd like to keep everything in one neat container :)

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