This educational idea is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott.
“When learning is disguised as play, everyone’s a winner.” -Amy
Fantastic learning opportunities can be found in almost any part of the day, whether it’s morning, noon, or night. All you have to do is be ready to pounce on them when they arise.
A closer look at the Melissa & Doug Big Rig Building Truck Wooden Playset shows us that the Big Rig really offers some cool learning opportunities for kids.
Here are 5 ways to sneak in some learning when playing with Big Rig:
1. Talk about colors. Say the color of each item as you use it, or sort the pieces by color. Take turns using the yellow hammer, the blue wrench, or the red screwdriver.
2. Practice counting. Count each piece as you put it in the truck, or count the number of times it takes to pound in a nail.
Ask the child to hand you the piece with three holes, or two nails, or to drive the truck around the room five times. Count the stripes, dots, or wheels on the truck. Line up all of the pieces and count them. Organize them by size, pattern, or shape. It’s all math!
3. Encourage pretend play. Tell the child: “You’re the truck driver making a delivery to Grandma’s house. Let’s load up the truck and get going! Where should we stop for lunch?”
Pretend to run into a silly bear, a friend or neighbor, or experience a flat tire on the truck. All of these situations will help develop creative thinking, imagination, and storytelling.
4. Work on fine motor skills. The twisting of the screwdriver, the pounding of the hammer, the turning of the screws into place all help develop a child’s fine motor skills. Those super-important muscles in the hands, arms, and fingers will help prepare a child for holding a pencil when it comes time to write!
5. Model sharing and turn-taking. Even when it’s just a child and an adult playing, it’s important that each person gets a turn to play! That way, during play dates or school days, the child remembers to give his or her buddies a chance to be in the spotlight.
With a caregiver alongside to guide and support the learning, playing with the Melissa & Doug Big Rig Building Truck Wooden Playset opens the door to conversation about colors, numbers, kindness, and more. It’s a toy that we’ve found is loved equally by all of the little ones in our family, and with learning–and play–opportunities like this, it’s definitely a winner in our book!
Hang with Amy over at teachmama.com for more cool, super-sneaky ways to throw in some learning in the name of fun or join her at we teach–a forum for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas and grow–no matter the classroom. Or tweet with her (@teachmama), pin with her or chat with her on Facebook!