Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The "Peg Game" (and all its wonderful benefits)

One thing I love about working with one-year-olds is that everything can be a multi-level learning experience.  One of my favorite activities to do with my students involves an empty Poland Spring jug -- and whatever can fit into the opening of said Poland Spring jug.  The rules are simple: find things that fit into the jug and put them into the jug.  Then stand back when teachers turn the jug over to empty its contents. 

I love this game for a multitude of reasons:
1) It's the best redirection when the kids are going insane, if only because they are immediately attracted to the sound of falling pegs.
2) This is a game made out of recycled and miscellaneous items. Nothing needed to be purchased. And we all know how much administration loves it when you find ways to not spend money
3) While every activity involves learning on many levels, this activity is a smugisboard of learning and development.
This is the write-up I have up on my wall in my classroom, along with the (non-blurred) pictures:

The Peg Game

In “The Peg Game”, children find various items that would fit into the opening of an upside down Poland Spring jug (wooden pegs, hair rollers, plastic building pegs) and drop them into the jug.  When all of the items are dropped into the jug, the teacher turns the jug over and empties it out.  This game helps further our students’ development in a multitude of areas.  While playing the game, the children’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are developed as they pick up the toys and drop them into the narrow opening.  Children also learn turn-taking and sharing, as only one child can put a peg into the bucket at a time (and the bucket is to be used by every child).  While children are playing, they are also practicing their clean-up skills as the students have to find toys on the floor, pick them up, and “put them away” into the jug.  Children are also exposed shape recognition, as well as size differences, as certain objects will or will not fit into the jug based on their size, shape, or both.  Children are also gaining pre-mathematical and problem solving skills as they learn which objects will fit into the jug, and which ones won’t.  Children also gain problem solving skills when the jug is filled with pegs: the children cannot reach down to grab the pegs out of the jug.  The jug must instead be turned over for the pegs to fall out.

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