Sunday, May 12, 2013

Playful Learning Book Review

I decided with summer quickly approaching that I would figure out how to "homeschool" my preschool son.  He loves to learn and loves school but I thought that I would try to figure out a few different things to do with each activity.  I came up with a few ideas and I was trying to make a plan that would last through the summer and not just a few days (because this is a lot of work).  I started at the library to see what books they had to give me some ideas.  I filled up my huge moose bag (Thanks Ann) and I was walking with a limp by the time that I made it to the car with about 20 books. 

The first book that I picked up to read was Playful Learning: Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder by Mariah Bruehl.  A lot of the other books looked like they had a ton of information but who could turn down this cover.  Doesn't everyone want their stuff to be organized so beautifully?

The book is divided into different chapters.

1.  Nurturing Young Authors
2.  The Joy of Reading
3. Mathematicians at Work
4. Scientific Investigations
5. Exploration of Art and Artists
6. Growing Globally
7. Raising the Citizens of Tomorrow

At first, I couldn't find the logic to the breakdown but that was because I was breaking my categories down differently.  After relaxing and just reading the book, I realized that the order made more sense then I was giving it credit for. 

Since I am trying to turn this into a summer of fun, I added a little bit to her ideas and I think that I have a "lesson plan."  For instance, the author talks about mail and teaching your kids to write letters (probably a good thing since it is a lost art).  There is a list of four books to read:

Dear Annie by Judith Caseley

A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats

Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie
The reason why this was a little confusing because part of the list was under Playful Learning Spaces (introduction) and the other was under Nurturing Young Authors but with my notes and figuring it out.  I have come up with some inside and outside the house activities to go along with this reading.  We are going to write letters to Grandma, Grandpa, Grammie, and whoever my son comes up with.  We will work with the return address label, senders address, and stamps (making the correct value).  We might even make envelopes if I find something that might be easy for my son to put together for another craft at home.  Outside the home, we are going to visit the post office to send our letters and hopefully talk to the people there about mail.  We might talk to our mail person too but they come at all different times so it is going to be something that is hard to plan for.  In addition, we are lucky to be close to the National Postal Museum which is part of the Smithsonian and therefore free!  We are going to enjoy learning lots about the mail.
I tried to pull together a folder for going to the Zoo while I was working on the list of all of the other activities.  My son found my pile of file folders and decided that he wanted to do all of the worksheets right away.  We sat down at dinner and did worksheets at the same time.  I am going to try to follow up with some other activities and plan on going to the Zoo soon followed by writing a storybook about what we saw.  I have some stickers and magazines and I think that we are going to do a collage and some alphabet crafts with the different animals in paint.  We might make the giraffe out of the paper towel roll.  We might also do our binocular project at this point.  I am still working through the plan in my head.  Do you have any crafts that might be good?
Are you trying to figure out what you are going to do for your kids for the summer?  I hope that this helps me to come up with some great ideas and plan a bunch of different educational opportunities.  This is well worth the money to keep as a resource around the house but I am going to take lots of notes and make a lesson plan before returning this valuable resource to the library.  I hope that you check it out.  Even if you aren't looking for a summer of plans, it certainly gives some great ideas on how to rearrange the play area so that kids can get all of the good stuff that we want them to play with!!!  Hope you check out this book soon :)

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