Lately the toddlers have been infatuated by robots. Originally it was just one of the children but the others have caught on and now they incorporate robots – or at least the word ‘robot’ – in all their activities.
In one of my favourite observations the 2-year-old boys were bouncing about chanting “Ro-bot, ro-bot, ro-bot”. They do this on and off all day, every day, indoors & out. Sometimes the girls join in briefly but most often it is just the boys. On this particular day the 2-year-old girl joined in as a “robot butterfly”.
As the boys bounced around chanting, the girl ‘floated’ around gently waving her arms and whispering “robot butterfly, robot ballerina butterfly”. It was beautiful – mesmerizing – I couldn’t stop watching. Even the boys stopped briefly and stared. They looked at each other and then continued bouncing around the room madly waving their arms a shouting “ROBOT BUTTERFLY”. There were no ballerinas in their description.
The robots are not limited to active play. There are musical robots and cooking robots and animal robots too. Almost everything they build is at some point called a robot even if it starts out as a tower or a house…
Last week they started using the shopping baskets as robot helmets. The basket is placed upside down over someone’s head and the handle is used as a chin strap. It is interesting because this has been done by many other children throughout my 18 years in childcare (the baskets are more than 20 years old & originally belonged to my own children). I’ve never suggested that they could be helmets and often there is a lapse between one group of ‘robot children’ and the next so the helmet idea is not passed on as a ‘learned’ activity.
Yesterday I gave the toddlers some foam shapes and let them design their own robots;
These are their finished creations;
I think there may be some robot engineers in this group of toddlers 🙂