Our block area is a perfect place for creativity to flourish. Many loose parts and manipulates are available for the children to use. One day, several boys teamed up and made surfboards out of Legos and then went into our art area and made surfboards out of paper and various materials. We noticed that the children had an increased interest in surfboards, so we talked with the parents and one mother told us that she has a friend who surfed and showed a real passion for the sport. In order to further the children’s knowledge and feed their curiosity, we invited the surfer to Little Wonders. He accepted the invitation to speak with the children about his love and knowledge of surfing… and he even brought his surfboard!
Before our surfing visitor came, the children discussed topics and questions they wanted to ask him:
- “Does the surfboard have handles”
- “How do you balance?”
- “Where can you purchase a surfboard?”
- “What is a surfboard made out of?”
- “Are there sharks in the ocean?”
When our surfing visitor arrived, the children were in awe of the various surfing essentials that he brought. During his presentation, we learned all about surfing, like the three different kinds of surfboards, how to surf and why people do it, safety while surfing, what to wear during different seasons, how to stay on the board, surfing gear, how to take care of the ocean, and how many inches wide and long surfboards are. This question-and-answer session seemed to fuel their curiosity even more.
While he patiently answered all of the children’s questions, the most exciting part was when our visitor allowed the children to take turns balancing on his surfboard. After he left, the children drew pictures of what the surfboard looked like and together we practiced sounding out and spelling “surfboard.”
Now that we know more about surfboards and the corkboard and Styrofoam materials they’re made out of, we’re planning a project to explore the concept of floating to have a better understanding of it and to encourage the children to express their knowledge of surfboards, viscosity, and density in various ways.
This activity shows that children naturally want to learn and how we (as teachers, parents, and adults) can make learning fun. Instead of sitting the children down and giving them a coloring worksheet on surfboards, we invited an actual surfer to our classroom to teach them about the art and sport of surfing. This has now lead to us to experiment with Styrofoam and corkboard, since this is what we learned surfboards are made out of. We are conducting experiments to see what sinks or floats, to help us understand the reason surfboards are made out of these materials. The children are learning to make a hypothesis of what they think will sink or float, write their assumptions down, and then test their theories to see if they were correct.