I think sometimes we underestimate the learning potential that is possible from very simple ideas. Sometimes all we need to do is look.
I found this compacted ball of rubber bands at Officeworks in the discount bin for 50cents. I needed the rubber bands. The thought of the ball being a learning opportunity for a child never entered my mind. It was not my intent when I purchased however, when a child saw it on the shelf and questioned what it was for, it then became an opportunity.
Handing the ball to the child was I curious as to what she would do with it.
She sat straight down on the floor, rolled the ball in her hands obviously feeling the bands textures and trying to get a sense of what they actually were (I didn't enlighten her to the fact they were rubber bands). She gently pulled on one of the top bands, twisted, turned the ball around and manipulated the first band off. It was a light bulb moment when realising what they were. Gazing up at me as if for conformation that it was alright to continue she then returned to her mission with gusto.
As you can appreciate if you have ever tried to untangle bands, string or wool how frustrating it can be especially if you crossover the wrong way. This was not evident at all. If the band wouldn't come off the child worked out the right way to peel or started a new band. It was very exciting to watch and a lesson in perseverance for me.
The cognitive value of a ball of elastic is astonishing. Unravelling the complex ball took determination and patience as investigative and trial and error methods were needed whilst at the same time enhancing fine-motor skills.
The sense of accomplishment was evident when completed.
Of course there was no offer of help to put it back together. Her job was done.
I will never look at a ball of rubber bands the same way again. A lesson learnt by the educator.
Are you looking for learning?