On occasion, my daughter invites several young families to my house for a life group meeting. The families bring their children and when I think about it, I try to provide an activity for the preschool age children to do.
On this particular evening, only two young boys came. Having seen all the wonderful ideas on tape creativity by Teacher Tom and others, I decided to try it myself. I set out several rolls of colored tape, some paper, and some crayons on the dining room table. I left the paper and tape there to see if the boys would notice it - kind of like setting up an interest center.
Eventually the boys wondered in the room and inqured about the tape and paper. I didn't give any specific directions, I just helped the boys pull out a strip of tape and they began to stick the tape to the paper.
The younger of the two brothers became immediately frustrated because his tape got all tangled and he wanted to quit. I said, "let's try again only this time, you pull on the end of the tape." He pulled on the end of the tape and then looked up at me. He then pulled a little more and looked at me again... then a little more... and a little more... then he said "I'm finished." I tore the end off and he worked to get the tape stuck to the paper but once again, it got rather tangled.
This time, however, instead of getting frustrated, he quickly asked for another color of tape. Again, I held the end, and he pulled... and pulled. Then he discovered that if he stood still and I walked backwards, he could even get a longer strip of tape. He directed me around the room and then would eventually say "stop." After a few times of this, he decided that he rather have shorter pieces of tape so he could stick them to his paper.
Meanwhile, the older brother caught on quickly. I started to show the older brother how to tear the tape with his fingers but he found out that if he pulled really hard, the tape would snap apart. He wasn't interested in hearing about my two finger tearing tape apart technique:) Both of the boys discovered something about the process that interested them and both of them were engaged in the process.
I want to make sure that everyone understands the key point here. It wasn't making the picture that was fun at first. What made this activity fun was manipulating the tape. Once the boys figured out how to manipulate the tape, then they began to have an interest in creating their picture.
The younger brother no longer became frustrated with the project once he was given freedom to just explore the tape. Now it was a fun idea and in the process he began to learn how to manipulate the tape. The younger brother went from giving up to being engaged - from having a lack of tape handling skills to being quite proficient - all in a matter of 20 to 30 minutes of time.
As we manipulated and created with tape, the parents came upstairs that they got involved too. In the end, both brothers made a wonderful tape picture and gave it to their dad as a present.
I enjoyed the process too. I learned that I don't need to teach kids how to create. Instead - I just need to facilitate the opportunity and then take note of what types of learning are taking place as the process unfolds.
View more on what kids learn from experiences with tape....
International Early Childhood Education Tape-off Challenge
Bakers and Astronauts
Leaves and Branches, and Trunks and Roots