What is a geoboard, you might be asking! It’s a simple math tool (piece of wood with pegs in it) on which to explore geometric shapes, scaling, perimeters, polygons, etc. The pegs are evenly spaced, so technically what I have pictured isn’t a geoboard for math learning’s sake, but can be easily made to be so by getting a ruler and spacing out your houses evenly on the board.
This project came about on a rainy (yes, it rains during summer too) Portland day. My son, Mikah, was chatting about tiny houses and I ended up making some from construction paper. I got the idea to do a geoboard with him and he 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 retracing the path with his fingers and noticing the shape the path makes.
Create your neighborhood by cutting out squares and triangles from construction paper to make the buildings. 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.
Assemble the 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 make something more organic like what we did.
Assign a pushpin for each "stop" in the neighborhood. I put ours at the doorways of the buildings.
Cut a very long piece of string and tie around the starting pushpin. Then get ready to explore the neighborhood!
Some ideas for activities: Storytelling: Have your child tell a story about 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 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?
Sara is a mother and artist living in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two boys. She believes in nurturing budding imaginations and living one moment at a time. You can more tutorials on her blog or some of her cute handmade toys and beeswax crayons in her shop, Kitty Baby Love.