I think there's something almost magical about the way a young child's mind works. Being a part of that magic is one of the things I love about teaching and learning with young kids.
This week we had a game out on the table. (Roll the cube; turn over a card. Roll again and turn another one. Do they match?)
One girl played the game for a time. "You can just look for matches, too," I said. She adapted the game to turn over one card and then roll to find that match.
I sat to play the game with her. In a few minutes, she said, "Let's build a house."
"With the cards?" I asked. She nodded.
We began to try to make a house with the cards. She mentioned that she liked to make card houses with her dad. Then she said, "Maybe we need something to help hold it." She began to use the cube as a support.
We tried several different things. Sometimes things worked. Sometimes they didn't.
"I wonder if blocks would help?" I said. She looked thoughtful. Then she gathered a few blocks and brought them to the table. We both did several different things with the blocks and cards. Another friend came to investigate.
I left the table to move around the room. Mrs. Cindy sat nearby, talking and monitoring.
The girls started to bring more blocks to the table. "Let's move the blocks to the floor," Mrs. Cindy said. "You can build there."
"Can we take the cards?" the girls asked.
They built a lot, not using the cards much but keeping them close at hand.
I love the way kids think about things, pull in their own past experiences, take in suggestions and modify their thinking, and just try things without worrying about success.
I saw cards fall and fall and fall. (Both my attempts and hers.) But we kept going.
I hope in our educational world of testing and college/career preparation and lots of drilling...I hope we don't lose the magic that is kids' thinking and investigation. That magic is important to our future.