This project came about on a rainy (yes, it rains during summer too) Portland day. Mikah was chatting about tiny houses and I ended up making some from construction paper. I got the idea to do a geoboard with it and Mikah loved it!
He enjoyed the physical aspect of wrapping the strings around the pegs as well as telling the story of the little kitty who lives at the blue house. When he was done he also enjoyed re-tracing the path with his fingers and noticing the shape the path makes.
What is a geoboard?
It’s a simple math tool (piece of block with pegs in it) that explores geometric shapes, scaling, perimeters, polygons, etc.
They are evenly spaced- so technically what I have pictured isn’t a geoboard for math learning sake, but can be easily made to be so by getting a ruler and spacing out your houses evenly on the board.
Storytelling is a great way to listen to your child and allow them some emotional release. Mikah loved pretending he was the kitty visiting the neighborhood. As an extrovert, he especially loved that there was a friend kitty for him to visit on the board. For the future I plan on making more friends and creatures for the neighborhood, including some baby animals as he is expecting to be a big brother (very) soon.
On to the tutorial!
cork board (thrift it!)
string/yarn for creating the path
construction paper (or download a printable I made- see below)
1. Create your neighborhood by cutting out squares and triangles from construction paper. I drew on details with a pen. This is a great activity for an older child to do too. Think of places and the details of the houses that are actually in your own neighborhood to make it more relevant.
2. Have your child assemble neighborhood on the corkboard with some repositionable tape. You can either go for a grid/evenly-spaced town if you want to incorporate more math concepts or something more organic like what we did.
3. Assign a pushpin for each “stop” in the neighborhood. I put ours at the doorway of the buildings.
4. Cut a very long piece of string and tie around the starting pushpin. Then get ready to explore the neighborhood!
Storytelling – Have your child tell a story on what happens that day in the neighborhood. What houses and businesses does s/he travel to and what do they find there? Maybe they meet a friend on the way to get some ice cream or stop by the park.
Puzzles – Create an agenda for the day and have your child act it out in the neighborhood- perhaps mr. kitty needs to get some groceries today before visiting his sick friend in the blue house. What path should he take to get all his plans accomplished? Or maybe today mr. kitty wants to visit ONLY blue houses and trees. What path should he take to do that?
Roadmaps – This was actually my original idea for the neighborhood. It’s a newly built neighborhood with no streets! Connect all the houses together with a string path so that mr. kitty can visit all his favorite places.
Mikah has declared the little blue house with the kitty as our house and requested I make plants that match the plants we have around our house. I think this board will have a good long life span since we can add to it and customize it. It makes cute (and functional) wall decor and what can beat making your own toys.
DOWNLOAD NEIGHBORHOOD TEMPLATE
Not feeling up to the cutting and drawing? I made a printable neighborhood for download available here. It comes with 2 pages of buildings, trees, and friends in black and white for your child to color in. Just print, color, cut and enjoy.