During free play, Child ‘MM’ found a piece of square paper and pretended it as a treasure hunt map. He started telling his friend, “Look, I found a map, I’m going to go treasure hunt.” Child ‘RL’ and ‘HD’ wanted to join him. Child ‘MM” carried around the pretend Map during outdoor play as well and pretended it as if they were hunting treasures. They dug the snow using shovels. When they found something interesting from the search process, they shared them with others. Child ‘NR’ collected some acorns, chalk, leaves and even ice in a little bucket. She showed her friends and started counting the numbers to see how many were there.
So What: What can children learn from the play experiences?
Through play, observation and exploration based on the interest, “Treasure Hunt”, children gained so much learning outcomes through guided and free exploration of nature around them. Through the experience, children were able to build skills that enhanced their holistic development such as: positive attitude toward learning, communicating findings, and problem solving.
Now What: How can we extend their experience and interest through the program?
The educator can extend the children's experiences through some activities. For example, children can draw their own maps and add some new materials to them. Children can explore looking for specific materials according to the maps. The educator can encourage them to extend their engagement by asking inquiry questions such as:
1. To expand their discovery process: “What can you see on the other side of this path?”
2. To enhance the abstract thinking ability with a sense of order: “What do you think you can find after this item?“
3. To encourage social engagement: “What did you find together here?”
Connection to ELECT Framework
Cognitive Thinking: 1. They learned to follow the directions from other friends or the educator and started making discoveries of their own
2. During the Outdoor program, children seemed to participate and explore more actively.
3. Children enhanced their critical and abstract thinking skills through active discussions with others
Problem Solving: 1. Children were able to develop to face the challenges, problem solving, and communication skills
Nature and Science: 1. Letting them explore and discover on their own.
2. Encouraging them to become more aware of their surroundings
Communication: 1. Discussing about what they want to find or what they found
2. Interacting with peers and adults, asking for help.