Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brain Gym

This weekend I found what I thought was going to be a one-of-a-kind cool wooden infant gym at a mom to mom sale. I spotted it as soon as I walked in the door next to some beautiful pricey wooden German toys. I am a sucker for wooden toys - especially German made wooden toys at resale prices because they are designed to survive the toy-pocalypse that unfolds at my house on any given day. So there I was paying for the infant gym of my dreams, when the mom selling it casually mentioned she bought it at IKEA and her child didn’t really care for it. 

I think I actually heard my happy bubble burst into a million sparkly pieces. 

I wanted to give her back the crappy mass-produced IKEA gym and spend my five bucks elsewhere, but of course that wouldn’t be cool so I thanked her instead and brought it home. Don’t get me wrong, I do love IKEA products but an IKEA toy is not nearly as marvelous as the German toy I imagined I was buying. 

Once I got home I got to thinking of ways I could make the best of a bad situation by coming up with different ways to use the gym. I noticed it had some cool features like slots for hanging toys. The toys that came with it could be challenging enough to be considered a fine motor activity for the toddlers, it also had a simple design with legs that fit perfectly in my sensory bin, so there was some potential there. After tinkering with it for a while, I had managed to imagine at least five different things we could do with the gym and then I fell madly in love with it all over again. Best of all I decided I’m glad it’s not the one-of-a-kind, hard to find German built gym I had thought it was because we are about to get REAL creative with it and I may need to by another one.

Some of the super things we imagined with the infant gym....

Day one: The Bucket Scale
Our first project was building a scale. My idea was to run a string through the two slots farthest from each other then attach binder clips on the ends for suspending buckets. I was hoping the kids could experiment with weight and volume by filling the buckets so that the heaviest bucket would drop and the lightest one would rise. We built the scale twice, using two different kinds of string but both times the bucket did not drop or rise as it should have. Instead the kids had to manually move it in either direction.The good news is that they accurately predicted how the scale was supposed to behave even though it didn’t do what it was supposed to do. After a while they decided it was still a fun to fill, lift and dump the buckets so we gave up on trying to make it behave and just enjoyed it as it was. 

Later I consulted Mark and he said we needed to get a pulley system going in order for it to work as a proper scale. Yay! another fun project, my gym just got cooler. Perhaps the most important lesson learned today is that failure can lead to other cool discoveries so we should do it often.

Day Two: The Tippy Scale (like the technical name?)

Since our first experiment with building scales did not work out as I had hoped, we built this super cool tape - unit block - wooden stick scale. I had actually made two of them so the kids wouldn’t have to wait too long for a turn. Sam decided we needed to make one big scale so we could weigh bigger stuff and we did. Sam’s idea was brilliant because the boys ended up working together, rather than independently as I assumed they would. (The girls weren’t really into this one as much, they were off working with the gym instead.) They experimented with different objects on the tipping scale and discovered that the tiny tiles with grippy backs worked best. All of the other objects they set on the scale slid down and shot off the end the as soon as it tipped in the heaviest direction. The boys thought this was hysterical and shot many things off the end of the table. (Note to self: we must build a catapult.) The game became fetching and shooting things off the scale. We don’t have many pictures of this experiment because I was too busy dodging flying objects. Who knew math and physics could be fun?

Day Three: Chain Links

We experimented with attaching links to hanging toys. This was a great fine motor activity because the links are a little tricky for toddler fingers. In order to attach the links to things they had to position the open part of the chain at just the right angle to get it to stick. It was a great lesson in patience. They also had fun experimenting with size and angles by slipping different objects through the top slots and winding the chains around things. 

Day Four: Clips and Popsicle Sticks

My kids are addicted to clips! I wanted to keep it natural today so we went with popsicle sticks and clothes pins. Working with these open-ended materials is a great way to develop fine motor skills, creative thinking and attention to design as they reproduce everyday objects.This group built some really cool stuff. There were lots of letters, a squirter (A.K.A. a gun - gasp!), some air planes and a whole lot of barricades. Eventually their play evolved into a construction site complete with a “bad guy” construction worker and a whole lot of rescue heros. F.Y.I. he was a bad guy because he kept knocking everyone’s stuff down.

Overall I think our little IKEA gym is the best five bucks I’ve spent in a very long time.   

1 comment :

  1. Pada pelatihan aktivasi otak, materi-materi yang diberikan adalah sebagai berikut :

    * Berjalan dengan mata tertutup ( Blind Fold ) melewati rintangan, menebak jumlah benda,warna dll

    * Melatih otak agar lebih mudah konsentrasi/lebih mudah fokus. Melatih otak agar memiliki kemampuan memori/daya ingat yang lebih baik, tidak mudah pikun meski usia telah tua.

    * Pengajaran tehnik dahsyat SUPER BRAIN GYM yang bermanfaat mengatasi berbagai permasalah di otak seperti : kesulitan fokus/konsentrasi, emosi tidak stabil, mudah lupa dan lain sebagainya. Sangat bermanfaat juga diajarkan kepada anak anda untuk kasus seperti autis, hiperaktif, down syndrome dll. Hanya terdiri dari 1 gerakan inti, mudah diaplikasikan dimanapun.

    * Pengajaran tehnik pernafasan khusus untuk meningkatkan intuisi dan kecerdasan kognitif otak.

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