Struggles between hockey and lego

One thing I miss since the hockey passion has taken up all our head space around here is the children’s lego. We used to, when Ben was younger, sit on the floor and put together entire lego cities complete with fire stations and houses, construction scenes, and many little vehicles for his mini figures. We built buildings and connected streets leading to the police station.  I spent many a Sunday morning, in pjs with my cup of coffee, sorting and playing with him to a point where I considered it my own hobby, too. Then the kids got bigger, the house appeared smaller, and there was less room to spread the lego we built out in the basement rec room. Also the hockey gear needed a place to dry and air out…

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How to play lego with a 2 year old

With her older brother heavily involved in complicated lego play, Sonja has expressed an interest in participating.

Of course participating in this kind of a set up has unleashed all kinds of exasperation, and, um, increased noise level. Sonja can’t possibly understand all this complicated fire-police-crash or construction site lego set up, and could I just keep that baby away from his important stuff?


I had to find a way to help her do her own thing while playing lego with, or alongside, her brother.

Well, Sonja likes animals. Why not try and make some lego animals for her? A quick Google search brought up some inspiration, and we came up with three very cute animals for her to help make (and play with). And the best part is that we could use our existing lego blocks…no further purchase necessary!

Lego Snail

Lego bird

Lego giraffe

Peace, for the moment, is restored.

10 piles of 10 = 100 Lego pieces

Benjamin’s Kindergarten class is counting. In celebration for their 100th day of school, the children are to count 100 items of something that they can take to school with them on that day. They suggested pennies, or beans, or beads.

Well, we have the Lego King here who decided that counting out 100 pieces of Lego could be fun.

In order to challenge him a tad further, I thought we could make it a little bit interesting. Instead of counting out 100 random pieces of Lego, why not make piles of 10 similar Lego pieces? He figured out quickly that we would need 10 piles, and he had a lot of fun decided which Lego pieces deserved the honour to be included in his piles.

In addition, I wrote out “the tens” (10, 20, 30 etc) on a square piece of paper and let him choose the correct one once he finished counting out the piles of 10.

The book One Watermelon Seed is a good introduction for small children on how to count, and how to count groups of ten.

Header

In case you’re wondering about this header – Benjamin lined up all the lego men because they’re watching another one (not pictured) drowning in water.

The mat is water. The design in the mat indicates waves…

Learning to count

I thought he couldn’t count that well. I tried counting with him here and there but he would fool around or mix up the numbers or sequence of numbers. We counted steps, socks in the laundry basket, swings at the park. Count, count, count.

Then I thought, let’s play a game that requires a die and he could learn to count the dots. And the squares he could move with his little man on the gameboard. He didn’t do it right and I let him, not wanting to take away from the fun. And fun he had. He wanted to play again.

But I thought perhaps it’s time to learn to count properly. So I researched a bit on how to do it and then devised my own way of helping him learn how to count.

Enter lego. Identical pieces of the same colour. And some foam numbers.

I thought that not only does he need to learn to count properly, he needs to recognize the numbers. He often calls a number a letter, or vice versa, so I thought we could use the foam bath numbers along with the lego, and learn to count that way.

I put all the lego pieces in a pile, placed the numbers in sequence on the board, and wanted him to put the correct number of lego underneath the corresponding number.

My intension was to mix up the numbers, out of sequence, so he could then still place the right amount of lego pieces beneath each number.

He mostly fooled around. He seemed distracted. I interpreted that as he didn’t want to learn or didn’t care at the time.

I put the pieces away and forgot about it.

Turns out, he mastered counting god knows how long ago. He demonstrated this several times when not asked to, randomly at home or out someplace. He counted way past six. He skips 13 every single time, but he counts all the way to 20. I guess he was just bored when he was “demonstrating” to me.

To test that he knows the numbers as well, I asked him to show me 5, or 2 or whatever. And he did it correctly before fooling around again. I tried to do reverse psychology and pointed to 3 and called it 4, and he corrected me.

Guess he knows his numbers.