Learning through Play with Toddler and Preschoolers to Teach Day and Night with a Globe and FlashlightMy daughter has taken on new fascination with flashlights as she braves the darkness which once made her nervous. She loves to hide things in the back of a closet and use the flashlight to “discover” whatever has been placed there. It becomes an adventure for her but more importantly she has taken it upon herself to work through her hesitation of the dark.

I spent a lot of time supporting her through this fear of the dark as we would talk through:

  • What we did during the day/night
  • How things looked during the day/night
  • What was the same and what was different during the day/night

This grew interest in figuring out what made it daytime and what made it night and a simple activity emerged.

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What we did:

Learning through Play with Toddler and Preschoolers to Teach Day and Night with a Globe and FlashlightLittle Bee loves to play around with our globe. She will spin the globe and watch it come to a stop. She’s familiar with a few place names that she’s heard in stories we’ve read so I will often point them out to her as well as where she lives. She knows the sea and the land and will find the little boats or compass that appear on our globe. I wish we had a globe that had blue water… and would recommend this for you but this is the one we have at her grandparent’s house so it is extra special to us.

Today we put a little flag on the globe and spun it around until the marked spot came into view again. I told her this meant one day had passed to all the people who lived in that spot and that when the globe spins all the way around again, one more day has passed.

This is a huge concept and certainly one that will come into play again and again over time but I believe in making the connection, using the language that she will encounter in other parts of her life (example: “It will take 5 days until Auntie J will be here. Remember the globe? It will spin around 5 times!”) and introducing her to concepts that might spark an interest in an area I may never have imagined.

Our globe spinning quickly turned into the two of us spinning around and around in the living room for “days and days” until we were dizzy, getting lost in the play and applying what we’ve learned in the conversation of the game.

Using the interest of the flashlight we moved to a closet that would allow the flashlight to be the main source of light and make an impact. Shining it on one side of the globe:

Learning through Play about Day and Night with a Globe for your Toddler and PreschoolerLittle Bee could see and share that one side was dark and one side was light. What did we know about day and night? One is dark and one is light. I asked my daughter which side would be daytime/nighttime? Applying what she now knows about day/light night/dark she was easily able to answer the question. We spun the globe around for “days and days” so she could see that the light didn’t move but the globe did and our little marker was sometimes in the light and sometimes not.

We moved to the window to see that the sun was still in the sky for us, still shining down but that soon we would move around (like the globe moves) and the sun would be on boys and girls somewhere else on the globe.

This is something we will return to and expand on, but it was lots of fun and the conversation found it’s way into other things that we did that day. Later, when reading Where the Wild Things Are, Little Bee noticed that while Max played, the pages turned from day to night and back again. Days passing. Pretty great, right?! Learning through play is the best (more on that here)!! 

Playing around with the flashlight and encouraging the comfort with the dark, we took out two new favourites in our book collection. These books are so neat.

Using a flashlight (although designed for and works best with the flashlight on your phone) you can play with shadows and create a vivid image on the wall of your child’s bedroom. I was really into constellations as a kid so I have a clear favorite of the two, while my daughter prefers the other as she takes over with the telling of the Nursery Rhymes she now knows so well – but there are so many topics to choose from in this special series.

Resources:

There are really simple globes that you can get which would grow with your child and will be a learning resource for years – it really doesn’t have to be anything advanced to provide great value in learning.

We have a VTech globe at home (we are still visiting my parents now which is why we are using the above globe) – and it has a really great concept but I like the idea of Little Bee placing her hands right on the globe and moving it herself.

A really neat product is this one built for STEAM extension, to be paired with technology and lots of hands on activities.

It’s a really great value for what it offers and would be engaging to those littles who like to extend their learning with a tablet while exploring culture, inventions, animals, weather and more for countries across the globe.  

The flashlight doesn’t need to be complicated either. Most homes have one laying around the house. We have a little one that we let my daughter play with as she likes, while keeping a different one in a constant spot in case of emergency so we don’t need to look for it if the time came to needing it quickly.

I’d love to hear about any activities you have used like this or anything you would love to know more about that Little Bee and I could research through play for you! We love sharing all our adventures through play and look forward to the next one! 

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