Skyscraper Unit for Preschoolers
Young children are often fascinated by things that are tall and big. Mine certainly are. They like to build tall with blocks. Climb the furniture to feel tall. Call to me from the tip top of climbing structures at the playground. They love to be high and are fascinated by all things that are tall. It was no surprise to me when they developed a long term interest in Skyscrapers this Fall.
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The interest in skyscrapers in our home actually started with Landmarks. We were exploring World Landmarks with our Little Passports kit and this drew their attention to different images on their World Map. As we read about different cities around the world they started to notice the tall buildings. I introduced the word "skyscrapers" and they were hooked. Soon I began to observe tall buildings being built in our playroom on a daily basis. We decided to explore this further and what follows below are how we explored, read, and played skyscrapers this Fall.
*Go on a walk. We started in our neighborhood looking at different homes and then also looked the buildings in our downtown.
*Visit a Skyscraper. Towards the beginning of our unit we took a trip to downtown Jackson to see the tallest building. It isn't technically a skyscraper, but it was the best I could do at the time. We just got back from New York City. Our twins' only requests were to see a skyscraper and ride a train, double check. From the moment we flew into the city the skyline was lined with incredible skyscrapers.
*Visit the National Building Museum in Washington DC. You can read about our visit and tips in this post.
Skyscraper Books : find our whole list of great skyscraper books in this post.
Tinkering : My kids are quite fond of tinkering so it seemed only natural to start here. I laid out some materials on the tray to see what they would build. There was no prompt, no ideas given, I just wanted to see if their building interests would carry over. Indeed, this is a city that was built with various loose parts and glue. The lines draw were streets and cars.
Focused Tinkering : After a week of tinkering, I laid out this collection of wooden spools that we received as a gift. This time I invited them to see how tall they could build with these loose parts. They spent days building up. Climbing on the chairs and tables to go up and up with their towers.
Math + Building : STEM skills are naturally integrated into even the most basic building, but I wanted to introduce the concept of measuring. After measuring their Loose Parts Skyscrapers and comparing size, I set up this invitation for them to build towers for Rapunzel to go with our concurrent Princesses unit.
Open Ended Building : Playing with different building materials is how they spent much of our time during our unit. I rotated the building materials occassionally and laid out different loose pieces and materials for them to integrate into their building. Their most favorite material and the one they built endlessly with was magna-tiles. This treehouse construction was one of my all time favorites.
Skyscrapers + Drawing : We love our simple drawing prompts and invitations (here's a whole list of our favorites) This skyscraper drawing prompt is several sheets of paper taped together on the wall.
Creating Blueprints : I introduced the concept of architects and other people who work to create skyscrapers. While learning about architects we drew plans for buildings with the help of the imaginative book If I Build a House by Chris Van Dusen.
More Building : Building. This building prompt was on mirrors outside. Our twins loved how you could see the tower getting bigger in the mirrors.
I truly doubt that we are by any means done building, however their building seems to be transitioning away from tall skyscrapers to complicated enclosures. Our trip to New York City was a wonderful conclusion to our unit.
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