We love out of the box thinking, so when one of our Before and After School Program ECEs sent us documentation for one of her science experiments, we knew we had to share! The idea was simple: could we take the traditional geoboard learning tool, and make it fun and new for our children?
A geoboard is a device used to teach children about shapes, as well as concepts like perimeters and areas. Most geoboards are flat pieces of wood, with rows of knobs sticking out, with tons of elastics. You stretch elastics around the knobs to create different shapes: triangles, squares, rectangles, pentagons, anything! The purpose is to show children that most geometric shapes have sides and corners, and that no matter how big or small, every shape on the geoboard will follow those rules.
While playing with geoboards is pretty fun on its own, we knew we could do better. So, one of our ECEs (Early Childhood Educators) brought in a pumpkin and a handful of golf tees. After helping the children use a hammer to put the tees into the pumpkin, she revealed step two: elastic bands.
“It’s fun to just play with the children, listening to their conversations and laughing with them!” she told us. “I didn’t do much beyond adding some tees to the pumpkin before the children were off and running with their pumpkin math fun!”
The activity lasted all afternoon, and ticked a lot of our learning boxes: the children practiced both gross and fine motor skills when they hammered the tees into the pumpkin and stretched out the elastics, respectively; there was some biology, as the children learned about the different parts of the pumpkin; and there was, of course, lots of math play and creative expression, as children made their own designs and patterns and talked with each other and shared their ideas.
Ultimately, the pumpkin geoboard shows that you can take an established concept and, just by adding a slight twist, can make it fun and exciting, while also teaching new things.