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"Brainstorming" on a school project with my 4-year-old

by Traci Schumacher on Fri, 11/15/2013 - 10:22am
My little guy making his "cheetah face" and showing off his Pirate Rattlesnake turkey-in-disguise with a fire sword.

This week my 4-year-old brought home an assignment from school to disguise a turkey. On a sheet of thick, white paper was Tom the Turkey, and it was up to the kids to disguise him so the Farmer would not find him for Thanksgiving. The instructions said for parents to “brainstorm” with the child about ways to disguise old Tom. “Be creative,” they said. And, “Use a variety of materials.”

I've seen these types of projects before. Turkeys covered with cotton balls or construction paper cut-outs. Very camouflaged and very disguised.

So my little guy was ready to start the project, and I thought we would discuss it, and, you know, "brainstorm." My son had his own ideas. He decided to color his turkey into a Roadrunner (because they are fast) Pirate (because they are scary to farmers). As he grabbed his markers, and began to color the turkey brown, I quickly realized that he was going to end up with a brown turkey that he called a roadrunner. Not very disguised.

I suggested it might be a little risky to dress the turkey like another kind of bird. The Farmer might catch on. My son considered this for a minute, and revised his plan. He would make Tom Turkey into a Pirate Rattlesnake because the Farmer would never mess with a rattlesnake. He would add a “fire sword” to really keep the Farmer away. And he thought the pirate hat should have a light on it “because turkeys are not nocturnal, but he might want to go out at night.”

Okay. So I encouraged my son to consider what he might use to disguise the turkey as a Pirate Rattlesnake with a fire sword. He decided on markers. Just markers. I did convince him to cut out the pirate hat and fire sword and glue those on, but everything is pretty much just colored with markers.

And that is how it went as I attempted to “brainstorm” with my 4-year-old. He pretty much did what he wanted in the way he wanted. He may not have used many different materials for his project, but he definitely used a lot of imagination. And he had fun making up the story to go along with it. Truth be told, I enjoyed it plenty myself.

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