Exploration Station

Sunday, October 11, 2015
Playing is learning!

Teachers have so much content to teach and curriculum to follow, but allowing students time to play is so worth it!

This year, I have implemented a new time we call Exploration Station. I am not able to fit it in every day, but we try to schedule it in as much as possible. Also, if my students get through some required work early, as a class, we dive into our play! The only rule we have is no technology! My students are on technology all day, so I want them to experience some play without screen time.

Students build such amazing skills through this time. They're able to build imagination and creativity. They work collaboratively with peers. Students are building relationships and working on speaking to one another appropriately. These are just a few of the amazing reasons why we play in the classroom.

Here are some examples of things we do during our Exploration Station.

Board games are a great way for students to build strategic skills. Instead of playing Connect Four, sometimes students just want to build patterns with the pieces.

Kids LOVE Legos! They're able to build and work on that creativity and imagination.

I found this connectors at Target in the Dollar Spot! I bought 3-4 packs of them and the students build creations through patterns. Such a cheap and easy way to incorporate engineering and math into the Exploration Station.

These are Magna Tiles that can be a bit pricey. I was fortunate to have them left in my classroom from the previous teacher. You can definitely go through Donors Choose to get an item like this or save up your Scholastic Reading Club points to try to score them that way.

I also allow students to use their art supplies. We have supplies in the classroom and I allow them to use my paper (usually the ugly colors I don't like from packs I buy :)). They cut, glue, color and end up creating amazing pop-out cards, slinks, etc.

It's pretty amazing what these students can do given the time to practice these skills. Give those kiddos time to PLAY!


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