The Fabulous One Minute Robot Your Child Will Love
Here’s a kids' activity that’s sure to become a household favorite. It offers your child a fun filled opportunity to navigate a robot through the house without causing it to “malfunction.” Don't worry, the robot is so easy you can put it together in less than a minute.
The objective of the game is for your child to navigate a robot through the house without causing it to “malfunction.” You’ll need these simple things to get started:
Start and finish point: use tape or string. Place one piece on the floor where the activity will start—in a bedroom, for example. Place the second piece at the finish line—in the kitchen, for example.
Robot: mom or dad will work just fine. Take a sheet of red (or any color) construction paper and wrap it around your left forearm. Secure it with a rubber band or piece of tape. Take a piece of yellow (or any color) construction paper and secure it to your right forearm.
Commands: these are the commands—Forward, Stop, Red Turn, Yellow Turn. Forward means walk slowly forward. Stop means stop. Red Turn means turn 90 degrees to the left (because red paper is on your left arm). Yellow Turn means turn 90 degrees to the right (because yellow paper is on your right arm).
A malfunction occurs when commands are given incorrectly:
-The robot cannot turn while going forward. The Stop command must be given before the Red Turn or Yellow Turn command. For example, if your child gives the Forward command, and then a few seconds later gives the Red Turn command, the robot malfunctions and the game starts over. (Indicate a malfunction by saying something like, ‘Malfunction, incorrect command,’ and then tilt your head forward and shut your eyes.)
-The robot cannot be given the same command twice in a row. For example, if your child calls Red Turn twice in a row, then the robot malfunctions and the game starts over.
-If an unrecognized command is given (such as Backwards), a malfunction occurs and the game starts over.
When your child is able to navigate the robot to the finish line without causing a malfunction, the objective has been met. When you cross the finish line, use your monotone, robot voice to say something like, 'Congratulations! You have successfully completed the objective. It took you three tries to navigate the course without error. Will we resume robot command instructions in the near future?'
Some suggested variations to keep up with your child’s skills:
-Create infrared zones. To do this, place squares of newspaper in various places along the course. If the robot steps on one of these, a malfunction occurs and the game starts over.
-Play with a timer. The robot’s battery is low and it must get to the recharging center within three minutes or it will shut down.
-Charge the robot’s battery with knowledge. Before the navigation part of the game, charge the robot’s battery with correct answers to questions. In your robot voice, ask your child questions that correspond with her skill level. For example, 'What is 2+1? What noise does a dog make? Etc.'
-Reinforce left and right recognition by playing without the colored paper on your forearms. The turn commands will now be Left Turn and Right Turn.
Of course, following directions can be just as challenging as giving directions, so be sure to provide your child an opportunity to play the part of the robot. Many other variations will pop up as you’re playing the game. No matter the exact procedure, this activity reinforces a variety of skills and demonstrates once again that the best resource for fun and learning is good old-fashioned ingenuity.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthony Vecchioni runs http://spaghettiboxkids.com/--a parenting site that offers specific strategies, tips and activities to enhance child learning.