When Playing IS Learning!

October 31, 2016

G is for Gorilla! This week we’re reading Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. It’s not only a classic but it has to be, hands down, one of the top 10 preschool books! It’s bright colorful illustrations, comical characters, and imagination friendly storyline make it perfect for any child but especially for pre-readers! To complement the story this morning MJ created a zoo of her own. This would be considered a completely independent play activity. I gave her materials. We talked about zoo habitats and animal needs. Then, I let her imagine and create! 

In addition to building blocks I gave her construction paper cut into ovals, craft hay, and play-doh. You can use any sort of materials for this activity. That’s the beauty of imaginative play. For your older preschooler/kindergartener you may consider giving safety scissors, paper, and crayons for them to draw and cut out materials. 

I didn’t set out enough blocks for each animal to have a separated habit because I wanted to encourage her to problem solve. Each animal needed to be alone in a habitat but I wanted her to figure out ways to make it work (like habitats sharing walls.) It took a little head scratching but sure enough she figured it out! 

Once all the exhibits were set up it was time to get the animals comfy! She handed out food (little rolled up play-doh “peas,”) provided water (blue construction paper,)  and soft bedding (craft hay.)

Ta- Da!  A completely independently created zoo! Not only did she have fun playing independently for 30+ minutes but she reviewed animals, animal needs, problem solved, practiced spacial reasoning, and fine motor skills! I’d say it was a very productive morning! 

Happy Playing, friends! 

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