Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fun and Games

Here are two games N. has been playing a lot lately: word jumbles and marbles.

He made up the word jumbles after seeing them in the newspaper; we each take turns writing a jumbled word for the other to rearrange.  This is a great example of what John Holt describes in Learning all the Time, namely that an important part of learning to read is learning what arrangements and combinations of letters don't make words in English.

N. recently bought an old-fashioned wooden marble shooter and we play a darts-style game with it and keep score on the sidewalk. We write down any points a player gets, and verbally keep a running tally, compare scores, quiz each other about how many points each player needs to take the lead, etc.

I think N. enjoys these games so much because they are building on skills that he is (unconsciously) working on very intensely right now: reading and math.  I believe strongly that child-led activities and games like these are the most productive kind of learning, much more so than empty adult-initiated busy work or drills.  And being able to solve problems flexibly in situations where the answer matters to you is more important than being able to answer a question on a test.


Mom and Kiddo said...

Kiddo would love that game!

mandy said...

the word jumble thing is such a good idea. i'm not sure that h is ready for something like that but once he is, it will be right up his alley!

Fanny Harville said...

Mandy, I make the words that N unscrambles pretty simple: cat, dog, etc. He makes really hard ones for me to figure out!