by Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
Effective communication isn’t easily taught, but some easy games and activities can help it take root.
Round up some manipulative items (you can use legos, colored popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, pretzels or whatever is handy). Set 2 people across from each other at the table with a science fair project type sheet of poster board or an oversized book set up between them as a screen. They will each need a similar pile of your chosen manipulatives on their side of the screen.
Now one person creates a pattern or arrangement of some kind with the set of objects. Then the real learning begins. The designer must now try to direct the other person to create a matching arrangement on the other side of the divider. The designer can’t look at what the copier is doing and the copier can’t peek at what the designer made. It’s like trying to explain it over the phone.
When the explaining/coaching/directing phase is done, the divider is lifted and they compare designs. Then roles are reversed and now the copier is first to make a design.
This is both a lesson in listening carefully and taking direction, and a lesson in giving clear instructions and imagining things from another person’s perspective. You’ll find that some people have a knack for this and other don’t. But everyone can improve with practice.
This doesn’t have to be played with 2 children. Adults are welcome to try- though I think it works best if the parent is in the copier role, at least at first.