I have written a lot about “invitation to create” projects from Mother Goose Time. I admit, I still have a difficult time with them sometimes because they are messy and I can’t control the outcome. Parents don’t always look excited to take home a bunch of things glued to paper that looks like a mess. But, I realized something this week. I was wrong. If done right, the invitation to create projects can be more beneficial to the student’s growth and learning helping them become more independent, confident, develop their critical thinking skills, and take control of their own learning.
We did an “invitation to create” project this week as well as a “make and play” project. I observed my child through both activities and the discovery I made was amazing. Not anything I had realized before.
When we first started the “invitation to create” projects, they were frustrating for me. I thought they were messy, I wasn’t always sure what the end product was suppose to be, and I felt like the kids weren’t sure what to do because they had always been told what to do. So when asked to think for themselves, a few students would sit and not do anything until I told them how to create their masterpiece.
The “make and play” projects were fun and the the kids and I knew what the end result was suppose to look like before we began the project.
Both are fun and the kids love both kinds of art projects. I’ve been doing the “invitation to create” projects for almost a year now and I’ve just now began to realize how important they are for my students to do these.
Invitation to Create projects are all about asking them questions and getting them to connect their learning to prior knowledge. It’s letting them be independent and messy. And figuring out for themselves how they want to get organized.
My daughter did the waterfall project this week. As we began, we talked about what a waterfall is and what it looks like. I asked her what she sees in the picture. She named the different parts in the picture like the waterfall, land, sky, clouds. She observed that the waterfall was in the middle of the picture and there was land all around on both sides. I asked her how she was going to make her waterfall and what materials she was going to use. She quickly said, “I need scissors to cut the paper. And glue.” She already had in mind how she was planning on making her waterfall. As she was making the waterfall, she cut every single piece of paper that I gave her. I asked, “If you cut the paper, what are you going to glue it to? You need a background paper to glue everything to.” She explained to me that she didn’t and that she was going to put them on top of each other.
I told her to walk me through it. So, as she built her water fall, she explained to me each step she took. “First, I am gluing the water fall onto the part that’s the sky.”
“Then, I am gluing the grass on the bottom where the waterfall ends. Finally, I need to glue rocks onto the grass because the land has rocks on it and I want people to know that this is land not water.”
There is so much critical thinking and reasoning skills that happen when they get to think for themselves and create a project how they want it.
On the other hand, we did a “make and play” project the next day. We made leis. It almost seemed more complicated to her. She got frustrated because she knew how the lei was suppose to look, but she couldn’t get it to look that way. She is kind of a perfectionist.
And then, we accidentally cut the string too small so it didn’t fit over her head. We had a good laugh and cut a bigger string and redid the necklace.
Then, we wore our leis and pretended to have a luau party. Role playing is a key ingredient for preschool aged children to learn about new things and the world around them.
Both projects were fun and beneficial to learning. I have a new appreciation for the “invitation to create” projects. I am glad that we get to do both throughout the month.
**Side note: This little 1 year old wanted to join in with her sister. She was being so careful to do small dots of glue and then she counted the rocks as she glued then on the paper! She is getting practice with fine motor skills, and math. She counted to 15. I was in shock. Even when you think they aren’t listening or understanding, they are and they do. Another win for the “Invitation to Create” projects.
I am excited to start our new theme next month: Camping!!
** I receive curriculum from Mother Goose Time for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. This is my 3rd year using Mother Goose Time, and I am pleased to promote quality educational learning experiences through play with Mother Goose Time!