On your weekly shopping runs, you develop a standard routine of things you do and motions you make. Challenge your child to remember and make sense of this routine -- capturing it into a decomposed sequence of actions -- and transforming it into a dance, when you loop this sequence together.
For parents with three to five year olds, as you make your weekly run to the store of your choice -- your local grocery, your Target, your Costco, or whatever -- use that routine to build a computational dance. You'll be teaching your child about how to decompose a situation into single parts, and then to sequence them correctly. Then you'll have them learn about loops, when you do the dance moves again (and again, and again...)!
3-5 year olds
Make a dance out of your shopping routine.
The next time you are going shopping at your usual store, whether it be a Costco, a Target, Safeway, a Giant Eagle, or other store: ask your child, what is the dance we can do for this store? Talk through with them the usual actions you do in the store — and then how to make them into dance moves that go in the sequence that fit this store. You'll end up with a funny, one-of-a-kind dance to do every time you go shopping there.
As you're driving up to your regular shopping store (like, for us, Costco), ask your child to play the "Costco dance game" with you. Explain to them that you're going to be making up a dance based on the physical motions you usually do when you’re shopping at Costco.
As you're getting out of the car, putting your child in the shopping cart, and walking along together, talk through, what are the usual things that we do in the store?
Talk through with your child about what the most memorable activities that you do in the Costco are.
Now that you have this list of activities, start to dance them with your child. You should be the model, so that they can learn from you.
What does the action of checking bagels look like? Make that into a dance move.
Do the same for showing your card, for knocking on watermelons, for shivering in the cold room, and for bringing items out of the cart onto the conveyor belt. You can do each motion as its own dance move! Boil the action down to one or two gestures.
Just don't make too many, or it might be hard to remember them all..
Now it's time to put these dance steps in order. Ask your child, what's the right order to do this dance?
By now you might be in the store, so you can do the dance as you're walking through the store. When do we do the watermelon move? Is it before or after the showing the card move? When do we do the checkout move? Does it come at the beginning or the end?
Encourage your child to say which comes when, first, middle, or the last.
By now, you should have a dance sequence. Try it out! Ask: what's the next move? If your child gets it in the right order, then do the dance moves together with your child. If they are out of order, prompt them to think again.
Encourage your child to talk through what dance moves they're doing, and what will come next. Get them to think in order, while still having lots of fun, and looking very silly in public. Talk about the dance as a Loop -- when you get to the end of the moves, you go back to the beginning, and restart the sequence. You can keep going forever in the Dance Loop!
And next week, when you're back at the store -- challenge your child to do the dance. Can they remember all the moves, and get them in the right order?
Lawyer and Designer
I love to draw, do crafts and creations, and have been teaching myself how to code apps. I have two little boys, whom I love to play art and educational games with.
This game may seem like it's completely silly, just about making up a dance, but actually it's about teaching your child all about sequences and looping them. When they have to think through the different activities that you do in the store, and then do the motions for that activity, they will be using their skills in identifying specific actions out of a larger set (decomposition), and then sequencing them in the right order. They will be making sense of your store visit, and laying it out into a delightful little dance, that will loop over and over --- like computer programming, but as dance moves.