SKILLS: Creative-thinking skills are fostered as children explore ways to design their own special tools.
- experience chart paper
- wood pieces (sanded down in order. to prevent splinters)
- recycled plastic containers and lids (such as yogurt cups)
- craft sticks and paper tubes
- small boxes
- string or yarn
- masking tape and glue
- children's safety scissors
- paint and brushes
- variety of tools (optional for younger children)
- large sheets of construction paper and crayons or markers (optional for older children)
IN ADVANCE: Prepare experiencechart paper to list children's knowledge about tools. Write the word Tools on the top of the paper. In separate columns, make categories for where specific types of tools might be found.
1 Explain to children that tools help us to do things. Measuring tools, such as a ruler or scale, help us discover how long something is or how much something weighs. Discuss what types of tools they use in the classroom.
2 Show children the chart and explain the categories. Ask them to think of different types of tools that fit into each category. Remind them that some tools can be used in several different places. You can also encourage them to find similarities and differences between the different types of tools listed in each category. Keep the chart posted so children can continue to add to their lists.
3 Take out the art materials. Explain to children that they can create a tool that will help them or someone they know do something special. (Some children may prefer creating tools by drawing or painting their ideas.)
4 During meeting time, ask children to share their special tools. Encourage each one to describe what her tool does, and to answer questions from the other children. Don't be surprised if children change or develop their ideas as they speak.
For younger children: Provide a wide variety of toy tools children can explore in the dramatic-play area before participating in this activity. Encourage children to describe the different tools and ways they can use them as they explore.
For older children: Provide large sheets of construction paper and crayons or markers. Children can then draw pictures of things they can "build" with their newly created tools.
Help children turn the dramatic-play area into a "tool shop." Set up a cash register with play money. Assist in displaying their tools for customers. Encourage them to draw labels describing what their tools are, what they do, and their price.