Sunday, 12 June 2011

Activity cards

Prompted by the realisation that there's some sort of ESP going on with another fellow blogger, I'm putting my laziness to the side and writing about this week's new thing: activity cards.

I got the inspiration some time ago by the Workbox System devised by Sue Patrick which is apparently being used by many a homeschooler in the US. Now, because I'm a bit lazy tonight (too much housework in the morning...) and because others have explained it much better than I could (since I just stole a couple of ideas without fully using the system), check out how Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations uses them to organise the work of her 4 homeschooled kids.

I really like some of the ideas I read. I like the idea of having one specific box for each activity (a bit Montessori actually), and that the kids have cards that tell them what to do. Now, this is of course very not-unschooling, so as I said I'm just stealing a couple of ideas without using the whole system.
Also because it doesn't make a lot of sense with little kids, forcing them into many activities they don't feel like doing is not fair on them or their individual interests and is not age appropriate.

The other reason that got me interested, is that I'm blessed with a smart kid who procrastinates bedtime "but I really really need to do this before I go to bed Mama"... so I thought: what if I get her to choose in the morning what activities she wants to do during the day, so at night she can't come up with the excuses? So far putting her in charge of her own "to do things" has been working a treat!

So this is how we do it: an ideal day is us going out in the morning then play at home in the afternoon. Sofia likes knowing in the morning what the plan for the day is. It gives her security knowing that there is one, that I know what I'm doing as a parent ;)
Of course the kids have a say in what we/they do, after all it is their life and they are the ones choosing what they're interested in.
So I made some cards for Places we go to (green) and other cards for Activities we do (yellow). I also made weekday cards (she started asking me to write the name of the day for her just like they do on Play School...). I'll eventually make more or diversify them and choose other colours, will keep you posted.
Then I laminated them and stuck a magnet behind each, so we can either put them on the fridge or on the small magnetic whiteboard that I bought with this purpose.

Before I forget: the laminator and laminating sheets were approx $25 from Woolworths. The magnets were these from Officeworks: I can highly recommend them because they are pliable and can be cut in smaller parts, they're now a staple of our craft supplies, you can stick them on foam, paper, cardboard, pegs and voila'! instant fridge magnets! Big hit in this household :)

This is what the first "batch" looked like":

I tried to make simple drawings (used stickers and cuttings too) that would be quite immediate for her to understand and memorise, and as you can see on the bottom right, she drew on it too (those are a bottle of glue and a collage with lots of things stuck on it, in case you can't understand the drawings of a 3 year old...)

These are most of them stuck on the fridge:

So this is how I envisaged it to work: each day I stick a Name of the day card, a Place card and a couple of Activity cards for the day. I like suggesting something because we have so many toys, games, stuff, that we might forget some, so this way I can suggest something that hasn't been played with in a while.

But somedays you make plans and everyone is tired and not in the mood. I can't even remember what the plan was for Thursday, we forgot about it pretty fast and decided to stick on the fridge the things we actually did, S really enjoys seeing all the cards, it helps to jog her memory of the day and she's also been impressed by the amount of things that she can do during a day.
So this is what we ended up doing:

After which, we went to Ikea to buy a Trofast to store our activities a bit better... Ok, I might have a little Ikea addiction developing...

Thanks for reading :)


1 comment:

  1. This is exactly what I had in mind! My sister did a very similar thing with her kids years ago, so I kind of stole some ideas from her, but I had developed my thoughts to look more like what you have! ESP Sara, ESP!

    Ash is starting to ask me every day "what are we doing today?" and starting to be aware of days of the week "On Tuesday we go to Music Time" this has prompted me in the last week to seriously do something like this. Like your Sofia, I think Ash likes to know what's happening, wants to do too much, and would enjoy choosing activities (if we're limited for time, at least she'd still feel empowered). Anyway, you get my drift - ditto to everything you just wrote! lol Fabulous!