While Nicholas and I are working on his school work, Rachel often sits at the table with us and works on coloring, cutting, or other craft projects from the various supplies we have. Today she went to the "art closet" where I keep all of their craft supplies and looked around for some inspiration for what she would work on today. She found a pack of colorful thin flexible foam sheets. She started cutting some up and seeing what she could make with them.
Once Nicholas was done with his work, he grabbed a few foam sheets to play with as well. I was busy cleaning up and both kids were quietly working at the kitchen table on their impromptu craft project.
I love having a stash of random craft supplies in our art closet that the kids can go to anytime. They were both scavenging for other supplies to make their foam crafts more exciting.
Finally, Nicholas was excited to show me his creation - foam shoes! He hand sewed them by using a regular hole punch and red yarn from the art closet.
I don't know how he came up with the idea but these shoes do actually fit his feet and he can walk around in them. They won't last very long but I think it was a neat project for him to come up with.
This is Discovery Learning - letting kids have some freedom to explore using ideas and materials without being told what to do. This lets them learn about the materials, the process, and the science behind the way things work. It is a great way to promote hands-on learning and independent exploration. Once they have completed their project we simply talk about the reason they chose certain materials or why they did things a certain way. We talk about how they might do things differently if they were to do the project over again. It's a fun way to learn without knowing they are learning but the discussions afterwards get them to think through the process and apply what they have learned for future projects.