Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hemisphere Shmemisphere

The next time you have some play dough out, try this activity out!

Here's what you need: some play dough, preferably blue, a knife and a rolling pin. If you're really going to get into the geography bit, I would make or find a reference map like the one I have pictured at the end.

Here's why you should do it: Maps can be a very abstract concept for little ones to understand. This just helps give a concrete representation of why a world map looks the way it does. The concept will probably still be abstract for a while . . . :)

Here's how you do it: Roll the play dough into a sphere (fancy shmancy word for a ball :)
Cut the sphere in half.
Tell them that these are the western and eastern hemispheres.
Okay, let me pause for a second. Maria Montessori termed the "Absorbent Mind", which basically means that children easily absorb anything and everything that is presented before them, more specifically from birth until the age of three. To you, "the western hemisphere" is a huge term, with a very abstract meaning, so why should you tell your toddler this?? To your three year old, "western hemisphere" is just another word they are learning everyday, like the names of all the Little Einsteins or circle, triangle and rectangle. Why not tell them all terminology and language that you can, because keeping up with all this information will be harder for YOU, not THEM.
If you are interested in learning and reading more about the absorbent mind, Montessori wrote an entire book named just that, The Absorbent Mind. Here's an interesting article about the same subject if you want a quicker read HERE.

Okay. Carrying on. . .
Roll each hemisphere out flat . . .


and then compare to a map of hemispheres. It would help if you had a globe, too. Sadly, we do not have a "real" globe yet, although Lawton would love it. The closest thing we have is a globe pencil sharpener and a kickball printed like a globe . . .
And here's a video to show you how much he really does enjoy this stuff. He gets a little excited. ha!
video
And the winners of the continent cards are . . .
(I used random.org but can't figure out how to show you, promise!!)
#1 - Melanie and #5 - Hayley
e-mail me with your addresses at chadandlaurabeth(at)yahoo(dot)com!
And stay tuned - more small giveaways coming up!

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