If you have time to visit other preschool classrooms and programs, you really should. Spend a half hour in another teacher’s room and you walk out with a bunch of new ideas. A couple years back, I walked into a classroom’s block area and saw binder clips to hold student pictures. The binder clip pictures were used as block project place holders, so that the structures would be saved for the next day and those students could continue their work. However, to me, they pictures like game board or flat action figures. My mind started racing with a rush of creative juices.
I went back to my school and was eager to implement the new tool. My class was studying castles and we had a list of all the places where we saw them: Mario brothers, Minecraft, you know, your classic castles. My plan was to print out Mario brother characters, cutout, laminate, put them in binder clips, and students would have options for fantasy play in the block area.
If you have a picture that is going a direction, make sure the other side has the picture going the other way. Two of the same picture, and the picture will always be going right or always going left. Frustrated kiddos.
Sure enough, the children were enticed and engrossed in pretend play. They used blocks to create “levels” for Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Princess Peach to navigate. They pieces were such a hit that I created a special box to keep them in.
Of course, you can put anything in the binder clips: children’s pictures, family pictures, characters from books, movies, etc. Children use these as if they were block area action figures.