Because Aria wanted to start school a week early, we shifted our plans a bit this year and moved our Space Unit to the very first week. This left an opening over Labor Day week! I knew I wanted to do something that wouldn’t require us to do school on Monday, since my husband would be home with us and we might want to go out and do stuff together. So, I settled on doing a construction week! I have loads of materials from doing a construction week over the past few years, and by incorporating a movie-making element into our week, not only did this week end up challenging, but we learned all about something neither Aria nor I had ever done before. It was really a wonderful week of school!
One of the best tricks for this week ended up being a “Design Table” that I set up for the girls at the start of the week. Basically, I found any materials I already owned for building and set them up on our art table such as legos, magnetic blocks and shapes, Jenga and wooden block pieces, etc. That way, any time during the week that we needed to fill a period of free time, I could send them to the table, they could grab building supplies and spend time being “construction” workers. Aria built anything from bridges to homes to city buildings, while my little one, Skylar, spent the week building whatever she put her mind to building.
For field trips this week, we did three activities that actually fit quite well into our unit. The obvious activity to do for this week is drive around and see what construction materials, workers, and vehicles you can find. Aria loved shouting out her discoveries as we drove and it is a great way to practice remembering construction vehicle names. We also went to the Columbus Museum, which right now has an architecture section where the kids not only can design but can also build their own homes and see how architects work. The Columbus Museum also has loads of blocks of different types that the girls loved building with. Lastly, we went to the Columbus Library, where they had an art in nature day. Now, you might think that this doesn’t really fit with our unit, but one of the things they had the kids do was create a mini zen garden, which allowed me to talk about landscape architects and how construction workers often work in conjunction with these architects to design and build beautiful parks and gardens.
The most successful activity of the week, by far, was creating our own movie this week. When Toys R Us was closing, I found a movie maker construction outfit and set background. This gave me the idea that we should try to make our own movie (though we ended up making two different ones because the girls loved the idea so much). We talked about characters, setting, and plot and Aria was required to come up with each of these on her own. She chose to be a mermaid and make her sister an evil witch, setting was the ocean, and the plot was that she was trying to build a castle and her sister was knocking it down. The girls dressed up in a mermaid and witch costume, Aria made up her own songs, and we filmed on my phone over two days. It was silly fun, but even Skylar loved acting and pretending to be an evil witch so both girls really got into it! I used Movie Maker and turned it into a 5 minute movie for our family to enjoy. As long as you don’t take the process too seriously, it really is a great way to work on early drama and storytelling with your kids!
Later in the week, Aria begged to do a second film, so this time we used the construction worker outfit and backdrop. She pretended to be building a city and Skylar pretended to be an evil dinosaur knocking down the city. Definitely ended up being just as adorable as the first!
Though construction week was not in my original plan, it ended up being such a blast and a blessing that I am really glad we didn’t miss out on. I read in a recent study that kids who play with blocks at a young age end up being better at math in the long run. I hope that getting my kids excited in building and playing with blocks will benefit them. Maybe I have future engineers and mathematicians in my home and it’ll all point back to early STEM play in the long run!
Please keep comments contructive
Jessica and Ana
Our Homeschooling Mission Statement: We will strive to be patient, godly examples to our children, integrating biblical principles and morality into every subject. Learning should be fun. We will foster an attitude of lifelong curiosity and play while providing the best possible education we can through books, art, technology, food, tactile activities, and cultural experiences. Learning will not be dictated by hours on a clock but will be a way of life for our families.