It’s been a bit dreary here the past few days and the kids are on the verge of cabin fever.
When this fun box arrived from Sylvan, complete with Lego Education packs, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to pull them away from their electronics and have a little fun one on one time with them. Little did they know they were actually learning, too.
So here are a few fun manipulative activities to give your little one a minds on experience while having fun. My goal with my kids is to help retain (avoiding summer learning loss) and build STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) knowledge while enhancing their creative and problem-solving abilities.
1) Lego Maze
This activity requires a baseplate, a marble and an assortment of different sized Legos. We decided to add a little extra fun to our maze by making it into a shape. We started with the outer edges of the heart adding, taking away and replacing pieces as we went to define the shape a little better. Once the outside was made we had to decide which direction we wanted our marble to go. Using different sizes of Legos, we created the path for the marble to travel.
Lesson Learned: Creative thought process using trial and error.
2) Build a Duck
If you are using the education pack of Legos, ask your child to remove the yellow and red blocks. There are 4 yellow and 2 red. If you are using your own Legos from home, you can see the sizes of yellow and red Legos used in the photo above.
Ask your child to use only these 6 blocks to build a Lego duck. If you want to challenge them you can also give them a 1-minute time limit.
Lesson Learned: There is more than one right answer and many ways to reach a similar solution. Learning is a process to use when searching for an answer.
3) 100 Dots
The goal of this activity to create a structure that when viewed from the top will show exactly 100 dots.
This particular activity was difficult (at first) for my children. My daughter is a bit more creative and caught on quickly, but my son kept asking me how I wanted him to do this. He went through a frustrated phase, but then when we saw my daughter’s creation build and I explained to him (again) that there is really no wrong answer he went with it.
Lesson Learned: Even easy tasks can require critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
4) Back to Back
This activity requires at least 2 children. Have them sit with their backs together so they cannot see what the other is doing. Have one child create a structure out of a set of bricks. When he/she is finished they then instruct the other child (without looking at their progress) with words only step by step how to build the same structure. When finished have the children turn around and compare their structures.
Lesson Learned: Not all solutions can be seen, some must be heard.
With a little luck, and hopefully some fun activities, we can help teach our children STEM concepts that will help them gain the edge they need in the future.