Essential Preschool Part I
Essential Preschool Part I, incl. E C O - T O Y S
- 1 Content summary
- 2 Goals
- 3 Study Schedule
- 4 Learning materials
- 5 Eco-Toys -- pre-pre-school education instruments
- 6 Kids' block toys-- best construction and engineering education
- 7 Block toy specialties
- 8 World Babble Bubble Ball
- 9 Slæbacus
- 10 Æbstræk Cardboard Glideways, or Æbstræk 2
- 11 Æbstræk 4
- 12 Claxwell
- 13 Pre-School Family Toys For Outdoor Use
- 14 References
- 15 Active participants
- 1st daily recitation - 5 minutes
- Listening and expressing - 10 minutes
- Numbers - 15 minutes
- Storytime - 15 minutes
- Reading readiness - 15 minutes
- Rest and recharge - 15 minutes
- Music - 20 minutes
- Guided play - 20 minutes
- Free play - at least 30 minutes
- 2nd daily recitation - 5 minutes
- Lesson 1: ...
- Activity 1.
- Reading 1.
- Study guide:
- Wikipedia article: w: __Article Name__
Eco-Toys -- pre-pre-school education instruments
The following products are meant to serve the educational needs of the infant and toddler from hour of birth onward. Everything described here can be made of left-over hardware, scrap lumber discards and "landscape waste", found right in your neighborhood-- also providing opportunity to instruct the children how no tree has to be killed to get any of the wood for their toys.
This seems to me to carry forward the wish of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, 1898-1998, whose concern was not just to produce a few elite violin virtuosoes but to develop the character, and conscience, of every child. Please add further product ideas, and help position this information in the context of a university which serves everyone from age zero up.Treedesigner
The Bogie (short for Kraadtzenbogen)
This consists of a short hardwood stick, preferably bowed or warped (you should save straight sticks to make into a mallet- or Bogenbong-handle, see below, or other precision products).
- A. "Classic Bogie" -- up to 10"/25 cm. segment of tree branch, with original bark, except the concave side is skinned and sanded flat two-thirds of the way up from the narrower end, and V-shaped notches cut and filed across the flat area every half inch or so. It will look a little bit like a human finger, except with more notches on the underside.
- B. "Milled lumber two-track Bogie" -- flat bar of hardwood lumber, preferably warped, with angled notches filed along two long edges, one having a notch every inch (slow kratztrack) and the other a notch every centimeter (fast kratztrack). Take care to sand away every possible splinter opportunity (see Sanding Systems, below). Sand "with the grain" on the notched side and "across the grain" on the "smooth" side (actually rough, because the crossgrain sanding produces microscopic grooves which make surprising tones when this side of the Bogie is kratzed across the lip of a cat-food can, bottle-bottom or tape-reinforced cardboard box).
- C. "Wire-braid Bogie" -- here's what to do with a flat stick shaped right for a Bogie, but with wood that is too soft to make a good loud noise, or hold up under hard kratzing-- drill a series of holes along the stick (except handle-end), through which wires can pass to anchor a wirebraid running down along most of the Bogie on one side. Kratzing with this wirebraid on various soundscrapes will yield a different kind of noise than a notched-hardwood bogie. Keep this type of Bogie short enough that there is no chance of the wood breaking.
The Bogie can be the first music toy in the life of a newborn. Literally minutes after birth you can place the infant's hand around the Bogie handle, your hand aroundthe infant's hand, and execute some bogenkratzes together. Infant will experience the simultaneity of vibration felt in the hand and sound heard by the ears.
Infant can hold a Bogie by the fat end and saw it across crib rails, edges of furniture, chair rungs, cookie tin rims, etc. to produce a loud dramatic noise which varies with pressure and speed of movement. Infant can crawl around the house and try kratzing on hundreds of available soundscrapes.
(Note, keep all Bogies short, otherwise some kid may get poked in the eye resulting in a $3,000,000.00 lawsuit and the product being banned.)
By the time the child is three years old he/she will be saw-literate and ready for the thrill of serious adult carpentry.
Named after the retired maestro of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, this is made from a round hardwood stick up to a foot long (such as a drumstick from which the last few inches were broken off), with a hardwood bead on one end to beat against a wood-slat- or bamboo-strung marimbadera (see below). The Bogenbong handle may be notched like a Bogie to kratz against the metal frame of the marimbadera.
Clwnky: cut the bottom 2 inches from a green plastic beverage bottle and screw it to the flat end of a fat wood block or 2"-diameter tree branch segment, 3-6 inches long. Another type is made by tapering an inch-thick stick down to fit tight in the neck of a 3-inch bottle-neck segment from a green plastic beverage bottle.
Čźôgў: a battered old golf ball, with two narrow holes drilled through, to admit loop of 1-mm telephone wire, which runs two-stranded to the neck of the Clwnky about a foot away. For the golf ball you can substitute a reasonably rotund chwnk of hardwood, hardwired or screwstudded for louder music results.
It's the classic "swing the ball into the cup" toy, very easy to do but, after all, this is for very young infants. A loud "clwnk" is heard when the Čźôgў goes in, after which you can hold it upright and shake it like a Statue of Liberty rattle. Or, if you miss, the Čźôgў makes a hell of a noise hitting the rim of the bottlebottomcwp. You can kratz a Bogie across the rim of the cwp and make even a heller of a noise. Or you can rub the mouth of the cwp against a concrete floor for the hellest noise of all.
Stradizuki (if it looks like a violin) or Stratozuki (if it looks like a guitar) is made to be plwcked or stroked with a Bogie. Use a flat hardwood bar, 15-30 inches long, 2 inches wide, 1/2 inch thick. The harder the wood, the louder the tone. On one side of the zookybar screw a 2"-deep green beverage bottle-bottom (good for plwcking) and a cat food can. On the other side attach a cooky tin or cooky tin lid (use 2 screws). Run braided coathanger wire from two holes in the side of the cat food can, slanting to two holes in the wood a few inches down the zookybar, run the two leads through the holes, then braid again up to two holes in the cooky tin. (The wirebraid on the cat-food-can side will sound different from the wirebraid on the cooky-tin side.) File notches along one or more edges of the zookybar, and add other features ad lib to the extent of your imagination.
(For guitar-like versions use more different types of flexible plastic containers that can be plwcked on.)
This idea originated in the Madison, Wisc. Suzuki Talent Education program, as shown in a photo in They're Rarely Too Young... and Never Too Old "To Twinkle" by Kay Collier Slone, an instructor who worked there in the 80's. You have a 5-year-old in the Suzuki program, and there's a 2-year-old sibling with "violin tendencies" that wants to get her hands on the $100 instrument-- what do you do? Make a cheap sturdy surrogate "violin" as described above, just as personal, easy to fix if it breaks, and a toddler soon learns to make dozens of different kinds of music on it (think of it as a rhythm instrument, no one cares about exact pitch till age 3).
For example, where there are notches on the zookybar, you can make an endless rattle noise by moving the Bogie in a rotary direction. If the Bogie moves slowly enough, it will sound like a purring pussycat. Or infant learns to get different kinds of tones by kratzing with the "smooth" (actually cross-sanded" side of the Bogie on can or bottle lip.
Longer zookybar and a bigger soundbox-- maybe the bottom 3 inches of a 5-gallon HDPE recyclable bucket, a cardboard box with all edges sealed by hard (=loud) paper tape, or a bigger cooky tin.
This looks like a painter's easel, except it has a securely mounted long hardwood bar slanting down 4 feet or more to the floor, with tins, cans, boxes, bottle segments etc. attached along the way. Several toddlers can stand around kratzing, bonging and plwcking on it all together.
Weld together a framework of metal bars, with hardwood slats and/or bamboo segments (various lengths and pitches) wire-suspended in the air-space between the top bars. Several Bogenbong maestroes can stand around bonging and kratzing, like a Balinese gamelin.
Named after the Ůniversity of you-know-what (Chicagoans know what this means). Buy a recorder-mouthpiece or other breath-activated tone-producer with a male outlet that plugs into the female opening of a length of drilled-out 1-1/4" diameter street-tree branchwood, with holes drilled along the side not for exact pitch relationships but for visual beauty or based on where the wood is strong enough. (Don't worry about exact pitch differences till age 3.)
Kids' block toys-- best construction and engineering education
There is no limit to sizes or shapes of blocks worth making nor is exact geometry of importance prior to age 3. ("Irregular Blocks Teach Adaptive Engineering.") Try to use as much as possible of what you find-- the main priority is to trim or sand away dirt, pollution and splinters and to round sharp edges and corners.
- A recent Beckley-Cardy toy catalog offered a set of 500 blocks for $700($1.40 per block), guaranteeing that they are made only of the very best special New England maple and that every block is an exact precise multiple of the length or width of every other. Forget spending all that money; buy a second-hand table-saw and a 7-1/4" carbide-tipped sawblade (which will last through hundreds of nailhits) and you can transform editable old scrapwood cutoffs from crates, pallets, construction and demolition leftovers, etc., into clean gorgeous blocks in surprisingly little time. Next to maybe writing symphonies for large orchestra, saw-trimming scrapwood into blockshapes for children is the most intellectually challenging and creative work on the planet.
- (Diagrams and pictures of representative products are in preparation to be added to this article. If you have a product idea with picture don't hesitate to add it.)Treedesigner 22:29, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Many sides and edges will have to be sanded to eliminate all chance of splinters and round all sharp edges and corners. Attach a regular 1725-rpm motor to a table with the shaft pointing out over the table's edge. Onto the shaft, with an arbor/converter which can be obtained for less than $10, attach a 7-inch flapsander disc (the #24-Grit "Tiger-Disc" for $18 from Weiler Abrasives is recommended, and other discs, from Grit #36 up, are often cheaper). This disc will survive tens of thousands of wood sandings.
As you face the sander with the block firmly held in both hands, the disc will be revolving counter-clockwise so that the direction is down on the left side, up on the right. Do all your sanding on the left side of the disc so that the dust flies downward into a sack, box or vacuum contrivance. Protective eyeware and woodman's muzzle (Muzzlewoodmanism) advised.
Instead of just holding the block still while pushing it against the disc, you want to keep the block moving so as to reduce heat-buildup (and clogging). Movement left and right distributes abrasion heat among different areas of the sandpaper and of the wood. Movement up and down varies the direction of cut.
Develop a sequence of movements for sanding all sides and turning edges and corners. Mentally count numbers as needed to keep track of where you are in your system. Sanding a typical block from totally rough may take two minutes. You can save time by skinning the sides with a table saw or chop saw, leaving only sharp corners and edges to be sanded.
When rounding an end-edge, sand out of the sidegrain into the endgrain so you won't rip anything off (such as bark in rustic pieces). Sanding blocks is analogous to conducting that symphony which someone else (maybe you earlier) wrote. It brings out the glorious artistry of the artist (tree), and will help you develop a systematic mind and sense of rhythm so that you are more effective demonstrating a Zooky.
(Further learning bonus: the sander is a relatively safe machine for relatively young children to use, making blocks for relatively younger children. Consult experts on how to set up a workspace in which some children can participate safely.)
Varnishing might be advisable for some softwoods which soil or stain easily, and will make some pines, etc., more dramatic by bringing out the color contrast between rings. Select the boringest softwood pieces to be painted: first a coat of paint, then let dry; resand; second coat may be varnish).
An option with hardwood blocks is to resand with a higher grit (and slower wheel speed, which may require belt and pulley): Grit #36, #50, #60, #80, #100 etc. The crossgrain thus revealed (detailed view of many years of treegrowth) is the #1 most educational view seen anywhere on the planet.
For more tips on sanding, please seeWikibooks:Carpentry?Power Tools/Sanders.
Block toy specialties
Cut any size and shape of block (unless there is enough length for a Bogie or mallethandle), but here are some especially important types you can aim for:
(No affiliation with manufacturer of a killedtree commercial product of similar name.) Cut tree-branch sticks various lengths 10" or shorter, with the bark still on if it is in good condition, flatten and sand the ends, and produce the well-known cut-a-way flat notches near each end like in the pictures of log cabins in history books. Can also be used to build rustic World Babble Bubble Towers (see below), for which 5 inches is a good typical length for most of the sticks, producing an upper tower diameter of about 8 inches.
From board cut-offs and other left-over milled lumber, cut slender blocks any length, but if in doubt cut 5"-- this size can serve as track ties for the Abstrak 2 Cardboard Railway and for tall surprisingly stable World Babble Bubble Towers. It does not matter if the blocks are thicker or wider at one end than the other! Children building towers learn to compensate so that if the tower is too high on one side, thicker blocks are added on the other side. ("Irregular Blocks Teach Adaptive Engineering.")
The tower is built up Jew-Star fashion, i.e. hexagonal with three blocks on each level interlocking with the three blocks of the previous level. It is surprisingly stable and will not fall down no matter how high you build it if the logs are laid astutely. (This idea was invented in 1999 in Jewtown, the former Chicago Maxwell Street neighborhood.) At a height of 4 feet or so-- or as high as a 2-year-old standing on a Stookle can still safely add blocks-- an 8" World Babble Bubble Ball is placed atop the tower and breathtaking photos made.
Cut out any 2" x 3", 3" x 4-1/2", 4" x 6" etc. area of 1/2" or 3/4" board which has a large "defect" (i.e. messy knot/ornament) into an egg-shape, and sand very smooth and regular (may take up to 5 minutes). Something durable and permanent to hide in the garden each Eastertide instead of hens' eggs.
Trim any "ornamented" piece of flat board that is just slightly too small to make an Eggspflat (i.e. smaller than 2" x 3"/5-cm x 8-cm) into a rhomboid shape; bevel and sand all edges agressively but, in this one case, leave resulting edges and corners unrounded! Aim for perfect lines against which the "blemish" will present a poignant irony.
Use any plywood pieces,even filthy old ones. Beveling all edges (up to 3/8"/1 cm.-wide slanted area) and sanding the two flat sides will produce a relatively clean beauty block. (Of course if you can slant-cut to a rhomboid shape without the thing breaking apart, go for the Diamond which is even more special.) Varnish advisable.
When in the course of boardcutoffing you find a well-formed, round, eye-like knot or knothole, cut a wedge-shaped piece 3-8" long with the knot well centered in the wide end (Ono Picasso). A piece with the eye at the edge is worth saving, and making into an Uh Oh Picasso. Sometimes there are two knots close together; center them well and make a Guernica Picasso. (Each single-eye piece is a Sinatra Picasso.) You can drill two holes (like nostrils) in the nose or narrow end of the Picasso and wirebraid on a key, small pencil or other important doodad.
Miró Picasso (named partly after the other Chicago statue)
If there are two or more small irregular knots, cut a wide wedge-shape with the ornamentation mostly in the wide end. The Miró can be used like a Picasso, as a Bettybird-deck, or as part of a Watergropius.
From boring undistinguished softwood 2x2's cut 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 2" blocks, paint with primer, then let children put on a colorful coat or drawing followed by varnish. Use at Eastertide instead of real hen's eggs (along with Eggspflat, above).
Hide Hens'-Eggs-Size-Blox (children get one point for each), Eggspflats (2 points), Diamonds (3 points) and Picassoes (4 points) around the White House (or your house) lawn.
Also erect a signboard listing prices: Hens'-Eggs-Size-Blox 38¢, Eggspflats $38.00, Diamonds $38,000.00, and Picassoes $38,000,000.00. This will help teach the children mathematics and voodoo economics.
Instead of recycling old plastic bottles (for lousy prices), cut four of them down to 6 inches long, stuff the neck part down inside each for strength, tape or tie them together. Tie or tape on pieces of plastic foam, crumpled paper etc. until it is approaching 8" diameter, wrap around and tape down long rolls of newspaper with lots of puffy stuff rolled inside, then wrap with lots of lousy old tape you want to use up, pushing and beating with the butt of your hand on any part that sticks out until it is roughly spherical (don't worry about perfectly, the Perfect is the Enemy of the Good). Glue on beautiful sections of old map or other illustrated paper, or apply colored tape. Then weatherproof with many rounds of relatively good 2" clear packaging tape.
If it turns out rather heavy, place it on top of a World Babble Bubble Tower or use it as a kickball. If light enough it can be used for volleyball or strung to a pole to use as a tetherball.
Study pictures of old abacuses, then cut five slabs of wood, maybe 3/4" x 2", drill and countersink a matched series of holes up to 2" apart along each of the vertical (?) slabs, and sand away all splinterdom before carefully securing them together with nails, screws or whatever. The holes should be just the right size to tightly grip grey telephone cable, the kind with 4-8 little wires inside. Threaded the cable through all holes with 4 and 1 or 5 and 2 beads suspended inside the space of the frame-- this may take 10 to 15 feet of cable. The holes of the beads should also be tight enough that they slide along the cable only when pushed so that the user will have the option to hold the thing with the cable segments lined up vertically like with real Arabic number columns in modern math, without the beads sliding down unexpectedly.
The beads can be about an inch thick, round or square to taste, or painted various colors.
Cut 5-inch wide slabs of cardboard of any length and score and fold so that there is a 2"-wide space in the middle with a 1/2" high curb on either side. Punch holes in the cardboard and use little 1-mm. colored telephone wires to tie these curbs in position and also tie the structure in turn to 5" small sticks (for each piece of track, two crossties and four wires). Cut short wedge-shaped pieces for turns. Create hills, valleys, bridges etc. by wiring cardboard on top of various blocks, boxes etc.
Make trains out of blocks 1-1/2" - 1-3/4" wide and up to 6 inches long, with little boxes and/or other stuff wired on top of them. Drill wide holes on top to insert Painted Little People (dowel dolls)from some commercial toy set. Drill little holes at the ends of the bottom blocks to link cars together so that when the locomotive car is manually pushed along the track, others follow (ABC = Actions Beget Consequences). Round or bevel the front end of each block so that in movement forward they don't snag on some joint in the cardboard track.
Line up blocks, block towers, block houses, log cabins etc. 4 inches apart to form streets on the carpet. Make trains 3" wide to push manually along the streets.
A nifty locomotive can be made by cutting off the top 3-4 inches of a gallon anti-freeze jug (some are bright yellow, green, etc.). Wash thoroughly to remove alleged toxins and avoid $3,000,000.00 lawsuit. Cut an oval-shaped piece of board to fit snug inside the open (bottom) end of the jugtop and secure safely with screws, nails, staples or whatever. You can stuff something inside the open mouth of the jug on top to make it look even more like a real traditional old locomotive. Use wires to attach other reasonably heavy cars behind with baroque loads on top.
- Aside from maybe the bicycle, the railroad train is the most magnificent technocratic art triumph and education toy of the last two centuries.
- Since the early 1800's musicians have eagerly soaked up the railroad sound and sense of movement into their art, including the great composers who were already creating a "tracked" variety of music, i.e. the audio-visual system of manuscript score + live or recorded performance. Consider introducing your toddler to a great modern railroad symphony such as Dvořák's No. 9 op. 95 (1892, possibly named after a long forgotten locomotive with the nickname "New World" painted on it), or Nielsen's No. 5 op. 50 (finale) (1921-22), and borrow a score from the library so your toddler can learn to "follow the tracks" and read along with the music (at first you guide the child's finger left to right along the page). This practice makes it amazingly easy later on to learn to read words and sentences. For more discussion of score-reading and how it educates the inventive ability, see Preschool Project.
From almost a foot-length of well-sanded 2 x 4, by adding notched wheels on either side make a car less than 3-1/2" wide that can be pushed along on the carpet (or in the channels created for Abstrak 4). Mounted along each side is a tongue-depressor stick (or any flat length of wood or plastic) that stretches from the front to rear wheel on that side, and by sticking into the notches on each wheel makes a complex clacking noise when the car is pushed and the wheels turn. On top of the 2x4 drill wide holes with a speedbor into which Painted Little People (dowel dolls) can be inserted.(An illustration is in preparation and will be added when this writer gets scanner-literate.)
The Claxwell is named after that old car owned by Jack Benny and Rochester-- right, the Maxwell-- and it was invented on Maxwell Street during the 90's before the University of You-Know-What gobbled up ("gentrified") the neighborhood.
Pre-School Family Toys For Outdoor Use
l. The croquet mallet handles can be made from strong straight sticks of any length from 10 to 40 inches. For the sake of appropriate mirth the tallest family member will use the shortest mallet and the shortest family member the longest. The mallet heads can be segments of tree branch, 2 - 2-1/2" wide and 4 - 5" long. If the head has interesting bark on it, so much the better. To the mallets as to all other equipment the golden rule of childhood learning applies: no two alike.
2. The croquet balls can be made by winding strips of nonrecyclable waxed cardboard (used to ship fruit), starting 4" wide and getting narrower, into a tight spheroid, then wrapping with ugly old tape, beating and banging down places that stick out. When fairly round (the Perfect is the enemy of the Good), apply colored tape, or glue on interesting paper, then wrap with lots of good clear 2" packaging tape for weatherproofing.
3. This game can be played with variant rules, whereby the object is to hit your ball into an 11" x 5-1/2" x 1-1/2" G. O. D. (giant outdoor domino), plywood playing card, 4 x 4 x 4 dice cube (can be made from a block pallet block), same size scrabble cube, giant scrabble block, or giant outdoor chesspiece (all made from landscape waste or pieces of scrap lumber). If you hit your ball into a domino, you can place the domino in a formation with other domines and claim corresponding points. If you hit a dice cube, claim the points on top and throw the die somewhere else across the lawn. If you hit a scrabble, lay it with other scrabbles to form a word. If you hit a chess piece, carry it over to an eight-foot chessboard (painted on the driveway, or made from two handy 4' x 8' foot rolls of dyed carpet laid out side by side on the lawn).
4. From playing these games a child might logically graduate into the carpentry class and learn to make outdoor education toys for younger children.
From a set of 11" x 5-1/2" x 1-1/2" giant outdoor dominoes a Standing Stonehenge of Stone-Age Dominoes (apologies to Paul, they're made of wood) can be constructed. Stand the dominoes upright in a wide circle. While cameras roll, an exquisitely dressed 2-year-old armed with a bogie steps toward the circle and knocks one of the dominoes over. All the grownups go ooh and aah and clap and cheer and shout the number of the first-knocked-over domino which will be visible for a few seconds until the rest of the dominoes have fallen. This will teach the selected blessed damozel 2-year-old a bit of math and physics and promote high self-esteem.
Make large-size outdoor chesspieces out of segments of tree-trunk (up to 9"-diameter checkers which serve as the pedestal), with the bark still on it to serve as the black pieces; or blocks of milled, sanded dimension-lumber and plywood (white pieces). A system exists for placing arms which stick out at various places to distinguish the different pieces. Paint a big chessboard on an 8' or wider driveway, or checkerdye two 4' x 8' slabs of carpet which can be laid side-by-side on the lawn.
Lawn Chess Ceremony: committees of 6-year-olds function as Chessgenerals, huddling and deciding on the moves, issuing an instruction such as, "Vanna, would you please move our pawn to QB4 (c4)?" Then an exquisitely dressed 2-year-old Chesshostess-- Vanna McWhiteknight or Betty McBlackbishop-- steps forward, picks up the indicated piece, and places it on the correct square. All elderpersons present applaud like on a real tv show, and the preschooler is rewarded with high self-esteem and encouragement toward a career in math or engineering. Some bureaucrat writes up the score (list of completed moves in two columns) on a signboard and all participants develop chess literacy, a step toward learning other more complex languages later.Treedesigner
Additional helpful readings include:
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