The Wheels Go Round and Round

Today, I am taking a departure from art stones, and writing about provocations and wheels. What is a provocation? In a nutshell, it’s encouraging children’s interests and providing tools and experiences that support that interest.

Here’s an example to get your “wheels turning”.

Let’s say you are sitting in group time and a child states that they got to roll a tire down a hill. Another child says, ‘oh, I have been on a tire swing’ and yet a third child says, ‘my Mama’s car has tires.’ You now have an interest, in this case, on tires and it is an opportunitiy to expand on the children’s interests.

Children love exploration and discovering how wheels work is a perfect spot for discovery! Wheels are everywhere. Clocks have wheels. Could you take one apart and see what all is inside a clock? What about unicylcles, bicycles or tricyles? How fun would it be to take these apart? Could you provide pictures of each to generate a discussion of what is alike and what is different? Children could draw the parts and journal (at least orally) on what they have discovered. This gives an opportunity to expand vocabulary and practice conversation.

Other wheels to explore could be suitcase wheels. Why would a suitcase need wheels? How about pulley wheels. What is a pulley? How does it work? What about hampster wheels? Why are they provided in the cage? How do they work? They look a bit like a Ferris Wheel-ah, another wheel to explore! Could you provide an old-fashioned can opener in the learning environment? It most certainly has a wheel and while we are in the kitchen, who has heard of a cheese wheel?

And then there are all the modes of transportation where wheels are used: airplanes, cars, firetrucks, ambulances, boat trailers, trucks and on and on. And every mode of transportation should have a steering wheel! What great experiences the children could have with a steering wheel in the room.

Wheels are a circle shape and provide a wonderful opportunity to explore the shape in a hands-on, interest-based way. Expand the learning by doing wheel painting with small trucks. This can be extended beyond paint. You might want to use shaving cream or play dough.

Remember to add in literacy by placing books in the learning arena and of course, there is the familiar song, The Wheels on the Bus.

Invite your parents to participate. They might have wheels lying around in their garage or they may have pictures or books you can borrow. This is a way to invite them into the learning.

Fun fact (learned from the Smithsonian magazine,

Throughout history, most inventions have been inspired by the natural world. The pitchfork and the fork came from forked sticks and the airplane came from birds. But the wheel is 100% man created. There are no wheels in nature. To read more, look up: A Salute to the Wheel, Science, Smithsonian Magazine.

I hope this gets your “wheels spinning” as you think about invitations to extend the learning. With preschoolers, the opportunities are many.

Have a great day. See you tomorrow!


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