Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Problem Solving
- Large pieces of Styrofoam (one for each child in the room)
- Small Styrofoam shapes (packing material)
- Materials for creating sculptures, including: colored toothpicks, small craft sticks, pipe cleaners, yarn or string, masking tape, white glue, feathers, large sequins, hole punch, construction paper, tissue paper, and fabric scraps
- Markers, tempera paint, paint brushes
- Child safety scissors
- Creative thinking
- Fine motor
Set up an area of the room that will allow children enough space to create a sculpture. Show them the various materials and explain that they will have a chance to make a sculpture.
Invite several children at a time to the area. Give each of them a piece of Styrofoam to serve as the base of their sculpture. Talk with them about the different types of materials, and ask them to think about how they might use each type. You may need to give children a few examples of how the different materials can be used.
Encourage children to work through any problems they encounter. Some children may need to reinforce their sculptures with tape, glue, or yarn-or they may need to find ways to prop up suspended parts. Provide tempera paint in case some children want to paint their sculptures.
When the sculptures are complete, bring children together to share their work. Ask them to describe how they made their sculptures and how they solved any problems they encountered. Find an area to display children's work.
Remember: While a rich variety of materials will offer children many options and add to their creative experience, too many materials can be overwhelming. You may want to modify the experience for specific children.
Floating objects: Ask parents to help their children collect a few items to bring into the bathtub, such as a sponge, washcloth, plastic cup or container, or a bath toy. Encourage parents to talk with their children about the materials that float and sink and how some become heavy when they absorb water.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: SCIENCE
Float or sink?: Gather children around the water table. Place a piece of Styrofoam in the water. Invite them to find waterproof objects in the room to place on top of the foam. Ask them to predict whether or not the Styrofoam will float or sink when different objects are placed on top.
Babar's Museum of Art by Laurent de Brunhoff (Harry N. Abrams)
I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait (Greenwillow)
Katie's Sunday Afternoon by James Mayhew (Scholastic)