A good friend of mine from my church fam is always planning and purposing teaching moments with her kiddos, and I love to see snapshots on Instagram and Facebook that highlight moments in their day.
One of my favorite mommy-teacher friends, Julie, and her little one.
So the following activity is the play-by-play from Julie -this week’s Mommy Teacher Spotlight:
Julie says “I am always looking for ways to inspire my child’s imagination. Today’s activity was appropriately titled “Project Imagination.” I threw several items (found around the house) into a cardboard box and set my three-year-old free to create whatever he wanted. To make this an independent experience free from frustration (for him and me) I made sure he had prior experience with most of the items in the box. Our box contained glue, scissors, tape, dried noodles, pipe cleaner, popsicle sticks, bead necklaces, stickers, favor bags, styrofoam, toothpicks, paper towel rolls, and two bowls of paint with paintbrushes. I was taking a risk by letting him paint with no supervision but he did a great job! I set him up on a patio outside with the materials so I wouldn’t be tempted to interject my ideas. It’s important to note that he didn’t have a clear idea of what he was making until he was half way through his project.
He started by examining all the materials before deciding he wanted to add stickers to the box, followed by a popsicle stick and then paint. It was at this point that he knew he wanted to create a rocket ship. For an hour he worked diligently until he needed some input on making a steering wheel. We brainstormed some ideas out of the materials available but I let him make the final decision. He was so proud of his final product and so was I. We will definitely be trying “Project Imagination” again!
As a former classroom teacher this type of activity would have intimidated me in the traditional classroom setting. But as a parent I have learned my child needs creativity without restraints. As the great Sir Ken Robinson said, “I believe this passionately: that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it.” I love this quote because it pushes me as a parent to foster the creative spirit within my child and evaluate the ways I may be limiting his creativity.”
Love it Julie! Thanks for sharing this with us!
Here at The Mommy Teacher, we would IDEALLY love to contact a WEEKLY Mommy Teacher for a Spotlight! So please share pictures on our Facebook Page!
I used random.org to pick a winner and I think this is the first time I have seen NUMBER ONE get picked! Yay for the number one comment “I would love to win this book!” – EARLYMI ! You won THREE copies of my new favorite book!
And as suggested in the title of this post I actually picked one other winner that I will be sending one copy of this book to because I was so encouraged by the following comment: “I would love to use this book to mentor moms in my apartment community.” – Terri!
Congratulations winners! I will contact you by way of email 🙂
As “The Mommy Teacher” you might assume that I fill my days with pinterest-worthy activities and crafts that I display for all to “ooh” and “ahh” over…. but nope, thats actually not my gifting, and it is not something that I feel guilty if I don’t achieve. Sure, I may have my MOMENTS of presentable glory, but yikes if I try to maintain that level of self-inflicted pressure on a regular basis. I started to think about why I am so secure in my simple but intentional ways and I came up with the fact that it is because I value the old-fashioned experiences of my own childhood: exploring my neighborhood, playing at parks, climbing trees, playing “house,” playing sports, singing, dancing, putting on skits, and just lots and lots of dramatic play… experiences that make life and learning FUN and enjoyable.
Sometimes the teaching opportunities that go unseen or unnoticed are the most instrumental in shaping the cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and physical development of our kids.
You may not always share the richest conversations you have with your kids, the bedtime stories, the imaginative moments, the nature walks, the giggles over nothing in particular, the amount of words you introduce your kids to on a daily basis, the outdoor playtime, etc. And it doesn’t have to be broadcasted to make you a mom that is thriving in your motherhood calling.
Encouraging imagination, teaching your kids to love learning, and simply introducing vocabulary on a daily basis are three things that you can’t really exactly “pin” but have such long-term benefits.
And so, today, for all of the moms out there who need the reminder to live FREE (from guilt, stress, pressure, expectations, comparison, any every other distraction that occupies us from ENJOYING and investing in our kids), I am giving away 3 copies of the book “Desperate” by Sarah Mae and Sarah Clarkson to ONE person. Why one person? So that one person can start a small group to discuss the book 🙂
All you have to do is SIMPLY comment on this post that you would like to win this giveaway. It’s just that simple 🙂
This isn’t a “book review” and it isn’t sponsored. It is simply my new ABSOLUTE favorite book that I want to share.
Some of my favorite highlights from the book are reminders to
1) Explore hobbies that interest you and allow yourself the joy that comes from experiencing them with others.
2) Know that in parenting there aren’t formulas that fit each family.
3) Value the time in your every day life “simply” telling your kids (and showing your kids) how much you love them.
Mentoring is a theme of this book as well – which is a HUGE part of my life. I value my mentors and soak them up like a sponge 🙂
My kids often do things that are expectedly unexpected (if that even makes sense). If I tell my kids to do something and they have a reaction that I didn’t anticipate, it is unexpected… but since it happens every single day a bajillion times a day… really… how unexpected can it be? Expectedly unexpected.
Expectedly unexpect this, kids: MY reaction to above situation. I get annoyed. Punish. Yell. Throw a Mommy hissy fit if it is the umpteenth time I have told them to turn off the TV. Put the kids in timeout. Take away the TV for the day. Talk talk talk talk talk about how they disobeyed. Seriously, you’d think they’d learn. You think, I’d learn.
Well, I had this re-epiphany the other day. A re-epiphany is that ‘aha’ moment that has been tucked away in our heads. Sometimes we just need a little reminder. And here is my re-epiphany… I need to teach my kids HOW TO THINK!
Me: “It’s time to get dressed…”
Yet they continued to play with toys.
Me: “C’mon boys, let’s get dressed.”
Me: “Stop playing with toys and get dressed!”
Yeah, I’m not proud of those moments when I snap. So, I have recently started turning the conversation around by verbally thinking about and questioning the situation to give them a chance to make the correct decision about what is the important thing to do to accomplish a task.
Me: “It’s time to get dressed.”
They continue to play with toys.
Me: “We need to get to school on time, so which is more important right now: playing with toys or getting dressed?
Boys: “Getting dressed.”
Me: “What happens if we play with toys instead of getting dressed?”
Boys: “Then we are going to be late for school…”
and my little one added: “Then Mommy will be maaaaad.”
Yup… I guess I needed this little epiphany to get myself to chill out because fussing at my kids apparently sticks in their little minds.
I have been focusing my conversations with the kids on using guiding questions to help them discern how to behave. The things that you and I as adults do automatically in our heads do not come naturally to young kids, but we can teach them the thought process that needs to be going through their minds. We can verbally model that for them so they start doing it as well:
Is this the right thing to do?
Which is more important?
What would happen if I didn’t listen?
This type of teaching will help your kids learn how to think things through. If you notice, I talked about our goal: to get to school on time. Then I narrowed down the field of all of the possible things they could be doing right now to two things: playing with toys (the action they are doing) and getting dressed (the action I need them to be doing.
I then ask “What is more important right now?” The right now is important because we do not want them to think that the things that matter most to them aren’t important, but at that exact moment, which is the MOST important. With my 3-year-old, I sometimes also have to say, “We can play with our toys after homework today when it is play time,” to remind him that his own personal goal (to play with toys) will also be fulfilled, but at a later point today.
We have used this approach for many things this week – most of them have been in the format of prioritizing which activity will best help us to reach our goal.
Teaching how to think is cross-curricular. You already teach foreshadowing (what’s going to happen next) in reading and math (sequencing) and cause and effect in science. This is just taking the same conversational approach and applying it to behavior.
I recommend also having these conversations during regular play, not just when you need them to do something. Expect the unexpected. Try to anticipate how they might do something that you will have to fuss them for and start a conversation about it before it happens…
Mommy Teacher: “If we are going to play in your room which is next to your sleeping sister’s room, is it more important to talk loudly or quietly?”
Mommy Teacher: “Why do we need to talk quietly?”
Child: “Because we do not want to wake Sister up.”
And if you’re like me and have a little lawyer or politician on your hands who will try to argue his decision to choose to do something besides what you need him to do, just remind him to think about what is MOST important to accomplish the end goal.