We have been using snap cubes in our homeschool for the last two years, and Logan loves to build all sorts of new characters for Minecraft with them. Now we are using the BraveWriter Lifestyle of writing, alongside his interests and seeing the most amazing results!
When my youngest was 4 years old, I heard a podcast by Julie Bogart, who was quickly becoming my go-to gal on YouTube when the going got tuff. I soon realized many amazing things about the cycles of learning that children go through as well as us as home educators. That was a huge lightbulb moment for me.
Then, she began to talk about the jot-it-down method of writing and I knew all three of my children were in that stage, especially my youngest, and I didn’t know how to get them excited about writing. All my kiddos have struggled with fine motor skills and were not at all interested in handwriting, but I knew that they were full of ideas. I was soon drawn to the concept of allowing them to simply dictate to me and I would jot it down. Write their words. They have so many brilliant ideas, it’s really amazing, but the stress of writing words they didn’t know how to spell, let alone write (to their desired perfection) was getting in the way of their creative writing abilities.
The first time I wrote down his idea
I remember it like yesterday. We were driving to the library, and it was just him and I. We had been talking about a few things and then he started to tell me a story. It was really simple and about Minecraft. I soon pulled over, got out my day planner, and asked him to tell me that again. He repeated his thoughts and I wrote it down. He was interested as to why I was doing that. I told him that it sounded to me like he was writing a story and that I wanted to would write it down for him. He was really happy about it and then I read it back to him.
That’s when things started to ‘click’
He began telling me more and more things he was ‘writing’ and we would have wonderful one-on-one moments together, where I would stop all other things, and just sit with him, listen and write what he was thinking. Usually, it was about Minecraft, and what Steve and Alex were doing, and as he continued to do this, his stories became more and more elaborate and detailed. I would help by asking him more questions, and he would provide more context to his story. After a few months of these simple moments of writing down his thoughts, he started building more and more of his snap cube creations. I was amazed at how cool and elaborate they were.
Soon I started taking photographs of them, and he would tell me about them.
In fact, because I was used to blogging and trying to write more often, I created a blog post all about his first builds. Soon, I realized that was going to be hard for him to look back upon and see because the photos were all on my phone. Soon I looked at the notebook that I had started to record his Minecraft stories in earlier and decided that I could trace the Snap Cube Builds and color them in to look like what he made, then record all the details he wanted to remember about it. This soon caught on and he has been a busy creator ever since!
These are some of the builds he made back in April 2019. He usually builds them in the evening, or at bedtime when he is relaxing and playing with his cubes. It’s a nice time for us to sit and talk and tell me all about his ideas.
Extend the learning with snap cubes
The next thing we began doing was recording how many colors he had included in it.
So, on the page next to his Snap Cube Build, I would have him tell me what colors he saw, and how many of them there were. This activity gets him really looking over his creation and analyzing what he has in it, counting each color and watching me write the numbers and words down. He now can recognize and read his numbers and colors very well.
I ask him more questions
He will tell me the main points about the creation, which usually consists of a combination of; who, what, when, why and how.
I write down the exact words he wants me to, and he has begun to really think about what he wants to say, and what he wants me to write.
Using Snap Cubes for learning in our Homeschool has become our preschooler’s favorite thing to play and learn with!
I have seen a huge improvement in his communication and storytelling abilities, as well as character development over the last year ever since I began to write down his ideas, thoughts and stories, one sentence at a time. We are beginning to work on ‘setting’, and ‘beginning, middle and end’ as well, if he has the time and patience to dive deeper into the story of his creation as we begin to start more kindergarten concepts. Follow along with us on Instagram to see our latest snap cube build, and Minecraft story!
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Thanks for reading today!
Do your children have stories to tell but are reluctant to write them down? Have you considered jotting-down their ideas for them?
Till next time, have fun with scissors and glue and snap cubes too!