Friday, March 18, 2011

WhatWe CanDo With a Ball

This week, we played outdoors. The girl from last week who had trouble walking in the snow still had trouble. She’d take a few steps by herself and then fall. She was having trouble getting up because she kept sinking in the snow. She’d laugh when she fell though so at least she was having a good time. After a while, she grabbed my hand and I walked with her if she wanted to go somewhere else on the playground. She’d even try to keep walking by herself after balancing by holding my hand, but she’d grab my hand again when she would start to fall. After going inside, she started to be clingy and constantly wanted to be picked up. One thing I noticed was that she likes looking out the window. I’d bring her over so she could watch the preschoolers play outside. One of her favorite games is peak-a-boo on the climber. I sit beside the climber stairs because there’s a little window there. I look through the window and she sees me from sitting on the stairs. Then I disappear. When she stands to look over the railing, she laughs because she sees me on the bottom. We had fun looking at our reflections in the mirror next to the climber. The toddlers like to press their faces right against the mirror. Some of the boys kept spitting on the mirror. They thought it was really funny, but I reminded them about the germs and they eventually stopped.

Most of the morning play surrounded three balls. Two of them are the regular smooth balls and the other one is bumpy and a little smaller. They discovered that they could do a lot with these balls. They could push them around the room like their trucks. They can carry them, they can role them, they can try to bounce them; they can sit on them and bounce on them. This only worked for some toddlers. The girl I mentioned needed the smaller ball and then she was able to bounce on the ball. She discovered this after trying one of the bigger balls. She’d fall off and after trying a few times, I asked, “what about the bumpy ball?” She tried that one and it worked much better although it was hard for her to keep her balance. We can play pass with the ball. It started with me and another girl on the floor. We’d role the ball back and forth. Then she started throwing it. A boy came over and joined into the game until he wanted the ball all to himself. We can take turns with the ball or we can fight over it. The girl noticed the other ball wasn’t being used so she brought that one over. We rolled it down the slide a couple of times, tried to bounce it off the floor and throwing the ball into the air. She saw that if she rolled the ball farther away, she could chase after it. Then more toddlers got involved with chasing the balls around the room. They practiced kicking and then chasing. Then I’d throw the ball in the air to see where it lands and the kids would chase it until they caught up to it. We’d start all over again with our game. Some even used the balls to knock over towers built from foam blocks. Playing with a ball is a great way for toddlers to develop those gross motor skills plus it’s so much fun!

Another cool thing that happened this week was they are starting to know my name. One of the girls kept saying, “Darcey, watch this!” Since most of these toddlers aren’t talking much yet, sometimes I forget what they can really understand and remember. I hardly ever hear them say the other teacher’s names and they work with them all the time so I was surprised when a couple of them said mine. When I came in, the girl who plays peak-a-boo came over and brought me right to the climber. It amazes me sometimes how much they know and remember even with someone they don’t see that often. Next week, I will be volunteering with the infants since there will be more babies.

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