Many parents believe that structured activities (e.g. educational videos) help a child to learn. However, experts associate a higher learning value in unstructured play activities (e.g. arts & craft, pretend play). Pedagogies like the Reggio Emilia approach view the environment as the “third teacher”; making simple changes to your child’s learning environment can bring about a significant impact on your child’s learning. Instead of structured activities, allow your children time to freely explore and construct their own learning.
Many learning spaces that apply the Reggio Emilia approach feature spaces with lots of natural light, as well as materials that allow free exploration.
Light Can Be a Form of Sensory Play
Providing an area for children to explore with light can add interest and create excitement for children in their early years. Lights of different hues are a treat for the eyes. They are also a great form of sensory play, which stimulates your child’s cognitive development. To promote your children’s sensory engagement, allow them to immerse themselves in manipulating light. Besides providing different light sources (e.g. push lights, flashlights, sunlight, etc.), consider including various textures and colours for chlidren to explore the effects freely.
Learning With Light
As mentioned earlier, children benefit immensely from unstructured play, manipulating different materials, as they construct their own knowledge in the process. Make a lamp with everyday materials to explore endless possibilities with it!
Here is what you will need:
For video instructions, you can refer to the video below.
Fun Ways to Extend Learning
To facilitate exploration, encourage your children to explore and realise that different objects allow different amounts of light to pass through them. They can also augment their learning by making shadows of different shapes and colours with materials like paper, plastic, and even marker ink to see the different effects they produce!
Besides science concepts, children can also improve their language skills by using the lamp as a prop in a storytelling game. Each player will take turns to add a sentence to the story when they are holding the lamp. While playing this game, make sure to consider the sequencing of the story by having a Beginning, Middle, and Ending.
Act, sing, and dance your way through the core curriculum while meeting learning objectives through holistic classroom practice! Chasing Light is the latest collaboration between Singapore Repertory Theatre and Science Centre Singapore, where participants can learn about the properties of light and shadows through creative drama and hands-on activities. Click here to find out more.
This article was written in collaboration with Singapore Repertory Theatre.
Written by Ang Shi Min
Illustrations by Lee Ai Cing