Brain Drain Busters:
Exciting Activities that Build
Critical Thinking Skills
The Alphabet Aerobics Speech blog will be taking a cue from our corporate-minded friends and enjoying "Summer Fridays."
However, don't fear! We will continue to blog through the summer on Thursdays.
Stay tuned for tons of summer fun and activities to prevent the dreaded summer learning loss, or "Brain Drain."
Comparing and contrasting is a vital skill. It's the foundation of critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. In order to prevent the dreaded "brain drain" (more on that here), we need to make sure our children practice the skills they worked so hard to master throughout the year.
One easy way to help your children work on their problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making skills is to compare and contrast. I promise - there are games!
How do we compare?
Encourage children to compare and contrast in a structured way. Start by comparing items by category. For instance, an apple and an orange are both fruits. Then you may want to move on to where the items are located and what they are used for.
You may also want to encourage children to use their 5 sense to explore, describe, and compare!
What vocabulary can we use to compare?
Try to encourage the use of compare/contrast words. These include:
* the same
* as well
- on one hand / on the other hand
Why is this a "Brain Drain Buster?"
Understanding comparisons and contrasts, helps us develop critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and even reading comprehension skills. The ability to relate and connect ideas together, helps children remember information, understand information, and think more in depth about the world around them.
Okay, okay, I get it! Tell me about the board games!
There are a TON of compare and contrast games out there! Click on the name of the game to see more information on Amazon:
* Apples to Apples Jr.
* Would You Rather (and explain why)
* Sort it Out
* Attribute Apples
But what about the creative stuff?
* Make sand castles - Which is bigger? Smaller? Stronger? Will it last longer
if we build it near the ocean or far from the ocean? Should we use dry
sand or wet sand? Why?
* Bake cookies with different ingredients - Check out this "How To" guide.
This a is great activitiy for talking about different textures. What
happens if you use apple sauce instead of oil? What about brown
sugar instead of white? What about which came out chewier? Dryer?
* Draw pictures with sidewalk chalk
* Make bracelets from lanyard and from string, compare and contrast styles
and materials the bracelets are made from.
* Bounce rubber bouncy balls - Which go highest? Compare and contrast
colors, textures, bounce height, etc.
* Make papier mache animals - Compare and contrast their habitats,
physical features, etc.
* Have a race to see who can generate the most comparisons and
contrasts. Lay out some items like a wallet and a fanny pack, paper
clip and a safety pin, or a pen and a marker, and GO!