Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Bubble Game developments

I have been intending to write this post for quite some time, but for some reason never quite got round to it... so today I am making a conscious effort to get it done... inspired by a dialogue in an online group about running indoors... where we discussed this post "Look out a T-Rex":Thoughts on 2walking feet". by David Cahn. it is a great post exploring children's needs to run, and our adult needs to let go of our need to control the running...
It did raise some dialogue that not all spaces are designed for running... so that the need to control the running is not coming from basic fears of running control but real fears of a small awkward shaped/designed space for many children is not optimal for children to run in safely especially as young children do not have a fully developed sense of spatial awareness (or physical control, or understanding consequences of their actions - my dad always said... the older you get the further you see).

One of my parts in the dialogue...
"I have always worked that we have spaces to run inside, spaces for quiet play inside... and spaces for play in between.
Not all children want to be surrounded by children running.
Some children get very frustrated with their constructions being knocked
 over by running children or their small play with others disturbed by children hurtling through...
so I create space for all kinds of play... 
In Sweden we seldom have one room for many forms of play as I have seen in UK and USA etc... but each group/class will have a series of rooms... this makes it much easier to have rooms for quiet and rooms for noise and running...
AND of course if I see a huge need for running then I take them outside where they REALLY can run..
Also in Sweden we do not wear shoes inside... so when they are running inside I encourage them to be barefoot so that they do not slip... running on our floors in socks CAN be dangerous and corners are not always taken so well... and I have nursed MANY bumps and bruises and also cuts to the head (and alos bruises to other parts of the body)...

I think not running is not just about adult control... I think we have to observe children's play and meet their needs, and that can be sometimes restricting the running - I am not afraid of noise and running... but ALL the time you also have to think about the sensory input for all of the children AND staff... there needs to be down time too, and places to feel quiet and still... and times to learn how to be quiet and still, because that is just as important as the freedom to run and shout...

I agree whole heartedly that we need to reflect more on the rules that we make for children... why they are there, do the children know about them and understand them... are they always needed... or maybe just in certain rooms or at certain times? Who are the rules really for? Who benefits from the rules and how do they benefit... what would happen if the rules were not there..."
 there is a need for us to design spaces from the very start to allow the children to learn and to incorporate all kinds of movement on an equal basis... that means running is given the same value as sitting quietly...
it is important to remember that most educators are fully aware of the need to run... but are given a curriculum and a space that does not give enough time, space or value to this part of the children's play and learning. Really we need to be addressing these point higher up in the educational hierarchy - so that the authorities are designing spaces and curriculums that are relevant and enable the educators to teach the way children learn....

Anyway back to the bubbles... it was a way for my children to not only work on their self regulation, but also to develop their spatial awareness...

Here is the link to the first post I wrote on this Bubble game  -  what I want to go into more detail is not the part where we sat in a circle but the part afterwards where the children are running more...

The part where they are lined up against the wall and they run forward to pop the bubbles and have to move back when the next name is called... and I say their names pretty fast... they have to be listening all the time for their name, or they will miss it, they have to be aware of running so they do not crash into anyone else, and they have to be aware of where the bubbles are and popping them. This stage is like a warm up... as there will only be two children at most in action at the same time.

THEN... all the children are active at the same time... I have done bubble popping with children many many times over the years... and nearly always there has been a crash, I would say it is GREAT fun until the crash happens, then it stops to comfort the children who are upset...
This play of popping all the bubbles has the challenge that the children are not allowed to touch each other... if they do then they have to sit out. the aim of the session is to work as a team and all children still be popping bubbles after 2 minutes has passed 8this proved to take two years of playing once a week before they managed a two minute session without touching another). BOTH children sat out, the one that did the touching and the one that was touched... the idea was that we take responsibility for others, our actions do not happen in isolation. At the end of two minutes (so it was never long to wait) we would talk about strategies... why were those children successful and still popping bubbles, what were their own theories, what were the theories of those observing? We then tried out the theories... the most fun one was when a child said "I am not sitting down because i kept to the edge where there were no others and did not pop the bubbles" - all the children thought this was a good idea... we tried it out and the whole group stood at the edge and watched the bubbles... the reflected and decided it was not the best way to play...

phot of me playing the bubble game taken by Opsis Magazine


The children got better at popping the bubbles and being aware of the other children around them, or predicting their movements and compensating appropriately to avoid contact - the children were learning spacial awareness. This also improved the tag/chasing games they played... they became better at ducking out of the way... but also better at tagging without that push or hit sort of action that used to happen when they did not have the same spatial awareness and the same physical control over their bodies...
They also learned a great deal about working together as a group and solving problems TOGETHER.

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