One of the things I’ve been experimenting with recently has been the idea of a ‘Special Project’. The first one we did was a huge poster across one wall of Small’s bedroom that we coloured in together. This one is a collection of old toy parts in a scrap book. For us a special project is something that takes a longer time to complete than our normal activities and crafts. It might take a few months and the goal is to build on knowledge and skills about something we’re really interested in. It also means that Small has something he can present to friends and family that he knows a lot about and he’s extra proud of because it took a lot to achieve.
What you’ll need
- A large scrap book
- Loose toy parts, see Old Toy Tinkering
- Masking tape
- A library book, we really liked Basher Science: Technology, A byte-sized world! It has really big bright pictures of things like screws and gears.
- Take apart some old toys and collect your favourite pieces
- Arrange them in your scrap book in any order you fancy
- Use masking tape to stick everything down. The advantage of masking tape is that it’s easier to rearrange as required
- Use the library book to look up the names of some of the toy parts
- Show your collection to close friends and family
Having a special project has been wonderful for lots of different reasons. This particular project helped to develop skills like cutting, sticking, collecting and sorting. Those are all really relevant to what Small is doing right now.
Special projects have also been much more than that for us. Small gets the opportunity to spend a long time focusing on one topic. He asks questions, finds information and works things out in his own pondering careful three year old way. Toys, and how they work, are a big part of Small’s life. He’s learning about something that is very significant to him and that he’s very interested in. It makes finding out new things seem like an enjoyable and worthwhile activity. He has an enthusiasm for learning that I hope he never shakes.
He has total ownership of his project and often likes to tell me that he can learn all by himself. Which he can! And that’s kind of like realising he has his own special power. When Small sits and goes through his scrapbook with other people it helps him to develop his talking and presenting skills. He can also find out about the unique bits of knowledge that other people might have and why it’s always exciting to ask more questions. Best of all it delivers a whole heap of confidence.
I hope we continue to have a special project running throughout Small’s childhood. I can’t wait to find out which questions he’ll want to answer next and where his interests take him.