Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tot school: bear-sorting and number puzzle

So today was yet another day where I was fumbling cluelessly, with no clue how to find the line between playing-and-exploring with a tiny bit of guidance (good), and pushing-and-instructing (bad).

We started out with the Counting Bears ($1 at the dollar store, that wonderful source of cheap tot-school delights). Basbusa loves these guys, because they make a lovely clattering sound when she pours them from cup to cup. When we've used them before, I had plans to try some color sorting, so only put two colors out, but all three times, the joys of bear-pouring completely eclipsed all other possibilities. So this time around, I decided to just go with the flow (of bears), and just let her go nuts with the pouring, while chatting with her about colors a bit as she did it.

Bears were poured back and forth, with much delightful clattering. And then she put a yellow bear in a cup, hunted around a bit, found a second yellow bear, and put it beside the first one. Hmmmm... Spontaneous sorting? Or complete coincidence? I had no clue, but I thought I'd see if we could keep going a bit. So asked if she could find me another yellow one. She did, but wanted to put him in a different cup.

From here on, I'm not sure if I took the right direction or not. I got a bit more involved in giving directions, encouraging her towards the cup we were sorting into when she had found a yellow bear, and, when she picked one of another color, saying something along the lines of "oh look, a red bear! How pretty. But let's not put him in with the yellow ones. Look, see how he's a different color?"

So, here's what we ended up with:

All the yellow bears in the purple cup. Is this a picture of a successful learning experience? Or of childhood exploration being squashed by a narrow-minded, pushy mother? I don't know. I'm sure she's not warped for life - yet - but I wish I had more clue what I'm doing. At least it was good pouring practice, until Mama decided to stick her big nose in.

Next up was her number puzzle.

This is another one where I don't know what I'm doing. So far, she hasn't gotten the hang of puzzles. She can get the pieces close-ish to where they're supposed to be, but she doesn't know how to put them in place, and isn't very interested in trying. With this puzzle in particular, though, we have a game she likes: I sing the chorus of her favorite number-song in Arabic, pointing to each number as I sing it. She steals a number, and then when I get to that point in the song, I make a big deal of being surprised and astonished and confused that I can't go on with my singing. Much giggling ensues, and it gives me plenty of chances to repeat things like, "... six, seven - oh no! where's the 8? where did the 8 go? here's the place for the 8, right here, but the 8 is gone!"
Sometimes I go on to, "Basbusa, do you think you could put that 8 back in it's place? So I could keep singing my nice song?" She makes an attempt, but isn't that interested, so I usually leave it at that. I don't think she gets the point, and it seems silly to go through motions that are meaningless to her.

So, maybe my baby just hasn't gotten to the "puzzles" stage of development yet, or maybe I'm failing to endow her with puzzle-solving skills. Anyone know?

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