I am currently serving as a Smart Play Ambassador with the Minnesota Children’s Museum and each month we explore various topics and share the educational learning opportunities at the museum as well as apply it to our own lives. This month we are exploring the concept of collaboration. The Minnesota Children’s Museum shared the following video with the Smart Play Ambassadors:
In the video, you can see the children in an imaginary setting working together and collaborating to accomplish the task at hand-loading the blocks for the construction project. So what exactly is collaboration?
The Children’s museum gave me the following definition for collaboration, “When children play with others in a way that is positive and enjoyable, that is collaboration happening. Connecting with others, interacting, talking, and having kind and giving relationships with others is an important form of collaboration.”
They also shared with me some words and examples of collaboration to expand our awareness and understanding of collaboration. It is important to remember that there are hundreds of opportunities and situations that come up on a daily basis that can be used as a “teachable moments” for collaboration, it doesn’t have to be one specific activity.
Accommodate– one example would be moving over and making room for someone else to join in at the Lego table.
Compromise– using the big bubble wand first for three minutes, and then passing it to a friend next (without a fuss)
Perspective Taking– talking children through how someone else may be thinking or feeling- or telling them how kind (and important) it was for them to notice an emotion in someone else.
Even Trust– carrying on with own positive actions and acting as if someone will follow through on their word (like actually giving up that big bubble wand after three minutes)
In my own experience, I think about how collaboration is happening when we are at the Children’s museum and also at home, specifically in the kitchen. We have been members at the Minnesota Children’s Museum since Stella was a baby and have seen her growth and development in the various rooms. One of her favorite places at the museum is the restaurant. I’ve watched as she takes turns with children making food, sharing the broom and waiting her turn to use the crank that moves the conveyer belt with dirty dishes. At home collaboration in the kitchen is endless for Stella-from helping me slice with a knife (she puts her hand on top of mine), adding ingredients to the mixer (sugar is her favorite) and helping assemble the night’s dinner we work together so I can get things either on the table, just have fun or create a recipe for my blog. We talk about the recipe-the ingredients, the amounts and of course we taste!
I asked some parents about how their children collaborate both inside the Children’s Museum and at home in the kitchen. Here’s their story:
Kirsten Partenheimer and Christopher Chesla
Children: Oliver (3.5 years), Soren (17 months)
Children’s Museum member: Yes
How have your children learned to cooperate, share and work together to solve a problem at the Minnesota Children’s Museum? Hmmm…my children haven’t really reached the stage where they “collaborate” with other kids at the museum. But they are learning to navigate a crowded public space with other children and wait for a turn and be respectful of other kids.
How do you collaborate together with your children to make dinner or complete a recipe? Oliver loves to help out in the kitchen and after witnessing a consistent interest in cooking/baking, I’ve been thinking of ways to let him help out. Sometimes it’s just as simple as slicing vegetables for a sandwich or salad and then letting him assemble the sandwich or put the veggies in a salad bowl. We do a lot of baking together. I’ll set all the ingredients and equipment on the counter and then talk him through the recipe and let him scoop ingredients into measuring cups while I measure and mix in the rest of the ingredients. I actually just recently wrote about baking with Oliver on my blog.
Dawn and Drew Puroway
Children: Noelle (3 years old), William (10 months old)
Children’s Museum member: Yes
How have your children learned to cooperate, share and work together to solve a problem at the Minnesota Children’s Museum? In the Earth World room, my child has worked with other kids to move all the “clouds” to the same side of the room so that a “thunderstorm” is created.
How do you collaborate together with your children to make dinner or complete a recipe?Noelle works with me in the kitchen by pouring in ingredients, stirring things together, and helping to put chopped vegetables in the bowl or pot that we are working with.
What are some things that motivate or get your child “cranked” for collaboration?
Working on something with me, her dad, or someone that she is close to (another family member or a friend that she spends a lot of time with) is very motivating for Noelle. She wants to spend time with family and friends and she wants to be helpful.
Chuck and Kirsten Bublitz
Children’s Museum member: Yes
How has your child learned to cooperate, share and work together to solve a problem at the Minnesota Children’s Museum?When visiting different exhibits there are limited numbers of items, guitars in the green screen room for example, and she’s learned patience and cooperation by sharing and taking turns. In playing collaboratively with her friends she’s learned to accomplish tasks together (drive the bus, go shopping, navigate the climbing wall in the forest room).
How do you collaborate together with your children to make dinner or complete a recipe?Elsa helps prepare dishes by getting ingredients, helping measure, pouring, mixing, stirring. She washes her hands before cooking and wears an apron. At dinner she often helps set the table and clears her dishes.
What are some things that motivate or get your child “cranked” for collaboration?The opportunity to play with someone. Elsa has reached an age where more advanced pretend and games are enhanced by working together with friends. One person can be “Jake the Pirate” and the other “Izzy” and together they can do more than by themselves.
Now here’s your chance to share your family’s collaboration story. I am giving away a 4 pack of admission passes to the Minnesota Children’s Museum and to enter the contest you can do any or all of the following:
- Leave a comment here on this blog post about how your child collaborates at the Minnesota Children’s museum or at home in the kitchen.
- Tweet this post and tag @diningwithalice
- Share this post on Facebook and tag @diningwithalice
- Comment on the Dining with Alice Facebook post and share how your child collaborates at the Minnesota Children’s museum or at home in the kitchen with you.
The contest will close on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 11:59pm and a winner will be chosen randomly. If you are already a member, you could give these passes as a gift, share with a friend or use when family visits!