Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chuck's For School

Reese is keenly aware this year that his 13 year old sister is returning to school. So I asked him what he wanted to do for his "first day of homeschool" this year (although our homeschool doesn't really have a start of stop!). He quickly piped up "I want to go to Chuck E Cheese!". I have promised him all summer long that I would take him to Chuck E Cheese's when the school kids go back to school, and it would be less crowded. Reese has a steel trap mind & held me to it!

So what, if anything, can be learned at Chuck E Cheese's? More than you think!

At the jet ski game, Reese engaged in pretend play & created a complete dialog with the "racer" next to him. We talked about what "8th place" meant, and used some problem-solving skills to figure out how to get a better score next time (his request, not mine!).

Lots of games worked on hand-eye coordination, including Whack A Mole (actually, it was Whack A Barney) and Air Hockey. With Whack A Mole, we also counted our tickets we won, and practiced simple addition using tickets in our cup added to the new tickets. We used vocabulary such as "how many all together" and "how many more".

Along with hand eye coordination, Air Hockey worked on taking turns & rules of a game. No hands on the table, only use your "hitter", when the puck is on my half of the table you can't come around & grab it. We did more math, comparing Reese's score to Mommy's score, & talking about "how many more" points he has than Mommy. How many more points do we need to be tied? We practiced being a gracious loser as well as a gracious winner.

While playing this Honey Pot game, Reese had to catch these "bees" with the net, then pour them into the honey pot (which had a very small opening!). You could tell Reese was deep in concentration, because he had his little tongue stuck out (his "thinking tongue"). We practiced counting up points and counting down time. Reese played this game over and over, fine tuning his problem solving skills until he held the net in just the right place each time to catch more balls.

More creative play as he rode in the car with Chuck E Cheese himself. Reese had an entire conversation with Chuck E Cheese, & the two of them were on a very important trip together.

Reese even had Circle Time! Everyone gathered to sing "If You're Happy And You Know It" with Chuck E Cheese, & did all sorts of silly moves. After singing and dancing, Chuck E Cheese threw up a bunch of free tickets into the air. Reese engaged in sharing & fair play as he grabbed four tickets for himself, & left the rest for others to share. He could have easily had 20+ tickets, but he was happy with his 4!

When we played basketball, we practiced skip counting by 2s. We used problem solving to figure out the best way to shoot the balls so they would go in the basket. We counted our tokens since we were running low, & we used some decision making regarding what else we wanted to do with our remaining tokens. Keep playing basketball, find something else, save them for later??

When it came time to redeem his tickets at the prize counter, we practiced identifying numbers in the hundreds. We used decision making to pick a toy that wouldn't fall apart right away, but would still be fun. Reese had to pay attention to just how many tickets he had, since we didn't have enough for the basektball he wanted. He had to decide if he wanted to save his tickets for next time, so our total then would equal enough for the basketball. Or spend them today for something smaller but still fun.

Reese chose to spend his tickets, and picked this foot-stomping rocket. It turned out to be a neat choice, because we incorported some physics as we played with it. Why does the rocket fly when you stomp on the blue air pod? What happens if you rip off the yellow tail fins of the rocket? Will it fly farther, or not at all? If you point the rocket at the ground before you stomp on the air pod, what happens? Can it go farther if you use your hand or your foot on the air pod? We even discussed friction. The base of the stomper kept sliding around on the concrete floors. Reese got very angry, and then I suggested putting it on the rug so it won't slide. He asked why, so we talked a little bit about friction of the rug compared to less friction on the floor.

After all that playing, Reese wanted a snack. He helped Mommy sautee some asparagus (for Mommy to eat). He also made a "banana sundae" for himself.

The sundae consisted of...bananas. He threw in a tiny scoop in vanilla ice cream for good measure.

And, THAT'S how you spend your day learning at Chuck E Cheese!

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