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Flashlights are cheap! You can get them for just a dollar or two at many dollar stores, and cheap batteries are readily available, as well. If you are on a wildnerness hike, then of course you need to "save the battery" but otherwise, why does it matter? Kids can't resist flashlights and with good reason -- they are full of opportunities for learning and fun. Try a game of flashlight tag, both inside and outside, and make letters and pictures on the ceiling. Show your child how to take apart a flashlight and put it back together again to strengthen their skills in problem solving.

  • ORGANIZATION, PLANNING AND PROBLEM SOLVING: There are few activites that children enjoy more than taking apart a flashlight. You can get a cheap one for a dollar, so why not let them explore? The step-by-step process of taking one apart and putting it back together strengthens their thinking skills and ability to figure things out, and provides real reinforcement (when the light works again), rather than fake reinforcement (such as stickers or grades). Make sure your children have the chance to experience the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from learning how to reassemble a flashlight. Many children can learn to do this as young as three or four years old.
  • FINE MOTOR SKILLS - It takes some practice to learn how to get the pieces apart and back together. This develops hand and finger strength and coordination.
  • VOCABULARY - an extensive spoken vocabulary is one of the best predictors of future success in school. Be sure to use accurate terminology when describing flashlight parts (ask your handyman friend, if you aren't sure what the parts are called, yourself).
  • SCIENCE PROCESSES - it's never too young to start learning the idea that science processes happen in an organized way and for a reason. Basic lessons in electricity can start with a simple flashlight at home.

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