Teaching children to slow down—even occasionally stop—to observe and investigate in a world that values speed, connectivity, movement, and multi-tasking is no easy task.
Lucky for us, children have been observing and investigating from the time they were born! Research shows that newborns recognize sounds that they heard in utero, and their developing eyes seek out black, white, and red colors. Babies quickly learn which parent will be providing nourishment, and what sounds, smells, and textures signify safety and warmth.
The observing and investigating continues as children grow. Toddlers are constantly touching, grabbing, and tasting things in order to learn whether or not the items are toys—or food—safe, or not safe. Preschoolers observe the adults in their lives for cues as to how they should respond to a situation and how to get attention when they want it.
Elementary school-aged children are usually pretty savvy about noticing when something is out of the norm—when their slice of cake is smaller than their classmate’s, when the teacher (or parent) makes a mistake, or when a playmate breaks rules in a game.
The skills of observation and investigation are so important for every child, especially in the early years that it’s imperative that we, as parents and teachers, continue to carve out the time to teach and model such skills.
It’s not essential for every family to set aside hours each day to devote to this task. Rather, it’s more important to make regular meaningful observations:
- Check out how beautiful the leaves are on that tree today!
- Look at the frost on the ground! The blades of grass look like they were carefully painted, don’t they?
- The roots on that tree are enormous! It’s incredible to think that they are tangled under the ground that we walk on every day.
- Let’s count the birds’ nests in our trees. Without the leaves on the trees, they’re easy to find.
- Listen to the cereal popping and crackling in your bowl. Shhhh! Can you hear it?
- Watch how the water gets sucked into the paper towel when I clean the counter. It’s so quick!
- Those squirrels in our yard are working hard today—burying nuts in every last space they can find!
Combining thought-provoking statements like these with games on the VINCI that require careful eyes and thoughtful responses is a recipe for helping our children develop their skills of observation and investigation.
Dinosaur Hatch n’ Match requires children to look closely at dinosaurs, matching them by characteristic and trait while at the same time learning the names of different dinosaurs. Players are encouraged to discover the hidden rules by observing closely, analyzing and thinking.
Watch, Think, & Choose is actually two games in one. Both have children observe a situation before taking action and build skills of analyzing and thinking. And This is Absurd plays on a child’s sense of observation by having players choose the animal on the African Savannah that is not quite right.
A balanced formula of observing and investigating in and around the home and in the form of VINCI apps is a great way to help children develop these super-important skills.
Let’s start observing!
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