Oct 1, 2014

WonderWorks: Mazes, trails, pathways and roads

How do we get from here to there?

Today's Topic: Mazes, pathways, trails and roads
painter's tape or masking tape
toy cars
LEGO bricks and plates
large pieces of styrofoam (leftover from packaging works great!)
pipe cleaners
beads with large holes

cover art Thump, quack, moo : a whacky adventure / Cronin, Doreen

The inspiration (or "what I thought kids might do"):
make tape mazes on the floor
make bead and wire mazes
build LEGO mazes

What Kids Do: build mazes with LEGO bricks

create roads for cars with colored tape on the table...

 or the floor!
Push marbles around a wooden labyrinth I found at a thrift store one time--

 Push a marble around a felt/fabric maze I sewed
 Stir the marbles around with their hand (so smooth!  so loud!  so slippery!  so much sensory satisfaction!)
 Add marbles to a LEGO plate

Make mazes, ramps and roads with cove molding

Spent time exploring Monument Valley on the iPad

 Created pathways from the carpet squares...

Adult Challenge of the week:  Ask "what could you change?" to foster the idea of experimentation.

Hindsight Tip:  It became fairly obvious in the first class that building actual mazes is a more complex skill than 3-4 year olds have the patience for.  BUT everyone seemed to really enjoy making paths and roads and trails and just showing the way an object (or person) should go.  We expanded the definition for the afternoon class and that worked just fine.

 Variations to try: 
There are SO many fantastic maze ideas out there, I could have done a completely different set of activities for the morning and afternoon class (but I was too lazy to do two set-ups).  Here are some of the ideas we didn't try today:
Squishy Marble Maze
Sensory Maze
Quick and Easy Baggie Maze (involves hot glue)
Moving a magnet through a maze
Marble Maze using a geoboard (link is to image on Pinterest only, original link is dead)
Crepe Paper "Laser" Maze

Related Apps: Monument Valley by ustwo.  This is one of my family's most favorite apps of all time. It wasn't designed specifically with kids in mind, but the functionality is simple enough for a kid to drive while the game play is intriguing enough to keep parents involved and interested. We sometimes snuggle up in bed to play through a level of this game as one of our bedtime stories together!

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