Saturday, August 20, 2016

Block Challenge

One day this week I made up a game on the two bigs were getting a bit wild and rough with one another and needed to be close to me.  I needed to finish handsewing some projects I was working on for Quinn's school event.  So....we made up a little game I could officiate while still having busy hands.  The kids LOVED it and have asked for it several times since.  This would be a great game to have in my toolkit when I need to interact with them and make dinner at the same time, or even on a roadtrip.  Thought I would share....though it is really nothing fancy!

My kids haven't played with these bristle blocks in a while, and they happened to be in the dresser drawer next to where we were sitting.  So I had them get out the blocks.  Each kiddo decided on their own team name, which I wrote at the top of a piece of paper.  Then I gave them different challenges, that I made up on the fly.

Build a boat using 6 blocks.
Build a restaurant using 15 blocks.
Build a playground using 13 blocks.
Choose just 1 color of blocks and build a school from them.

Etc., etc,.

Each kiddo had a little bell (this was Quinn's idea, which turned out to be a fun addition!) that they could ring once they were finished building.  It wasn't at all a race, but they did have fun ringing the bells.

When they rang their bell, I would ask them to tell about what they built, and they'd spend a couple minutes explaining their design.  I would ask some questions (and I did all this in an "announcer" voice and used "announcer-y" lingo).  Then the other person would have to say 1 thing they liked about the other sibling's design.  My kiddos weren't having a great morning getting along, so this was a way I used to help them practice kind words with eachother.

After they built each object and told about it, I gave them a point.  Quinn was much faster than Beck, so she got a couple challenges ahead of him, which still worked out fine.  I just wrote down at the bottom of the paper what the challenges he still needed to do were, so I didn't forget.  I had them return all the blocks to the box after each challenge, so that when they started the next object they'd choose different blocks, otherwise if I let them keep them out, they'd use the same ones and there wouldn't be much variety in what they built.

When they got tired of the game (which lasted about 45 minutes!!) and I was at a stopping point, we ended the game (in the announcer voice) and then I told them their reward was to share a cupcake (that we happened to have leftover from a babyshower the weekend before).  Of course the rule is that one kid cuts the cupcake and the other gets to choose their piece first. ;)

This game achieved my goal of peaceful play, but it also encouraged some problem-solving and higher-level thinking.  Educational AND fun!!  It could be played with any types of blocks, so it's very versatile!