The adult can elicit vocabulary by being a player. In dramatic play outdoors, say, “I am making a museum of nature for people to come and see. I need rocks. I need a big one and a little one.” “ I need a heavy one and a light one.” “Okay, now how about a tall stick.” Continue with other characteristics hard, soft, etc. If the child brings many rocks, “Say, I just need one. You pick the one.” (You can also add in counting and say a number that you need.)
Let the child collect many more items, then ask the child to help you arrange the “museum displays.” Let the child arrange them any way he wants on a picnic table, sidewalk, path or other clear space.
The child will make designs with the rocks and sticks, but the designs will probably not be in order or a pattern.
Children love to make arrangements. Having multiples of a small item, such as rocks, poker chips, counting bears, blocks, etc. encourages children to experiment with arrangements in different designs and patterns.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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