Provocations are invitations to play or create. They should provoke your child to play with the materials you set out. A provocation is more than just laying materials out on the floor or table. It takes careful consideration of materials and the placement of those materials in order to draw the child into the area.
This weeks provocation is a farming small world. This is one of the first provocations, and small worlds for that matter, I’ve set up for Sicily. I just used the Little People Farm, but you can use any farm animals, barn, and other farm materials you have on hand. This could be elaborated on by adding trees, bushes, and pastures. I just wanted to keep it simple for Sicily (18 months).
I chose to do a farm provocation for two reasons. The first reason was to elaborate on our field trip to the fair at the beginning of the week. The second reason was because she has shown interests in animals and their sounds. I set this provocation up in about 5 minutes after Sicily went to bed, so it would be waiting for her in the morning. All I did was put the animals into the barn and a few out in the pasture. I added a tractor with hay in the wagon and a driver. On the side, I add 4 farming books to help motivate Sicily to read about the farm animals.
This super simple, effortless provocation held her attention for a good hour that first morning. She picked up each animal and made the noise. She drove the tractor around our living room, and then we had to read every book in the basket.
The next morning, I had all the animals, hay, and people laying in a basket instead of set up. I wanted to see how she would interact with the small world once it was taken apart. I don’t think Sicily is ready to create her own small worlds using her imagination quite yet. The next morning all the animals were dumped out of the basket and that was the end of the farm for the day.
I repeated the farm the third day, but set it up again. That morning she spent about 30 minutes playing with the farm. Through observation, I learned that Sicily’s imagination is not mature enough to create her own environments, but with small worlds set up she has the capacity to play for an extended period of time.
Your Turn: What provocations have you set up lately?
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Enjoy the quality time with your kids while learning and having fun!