Have you tried The Land of Me? It’s a fantastic fun educational resource – a collection of games and activities designed by child development experts to inspire children’s creativity and learning, using computer, scissors, glue and, most importantly, imagination. There are on screen activities as well as printable resources such as masks, puzzles and games that extend the play away from the computer.
The Land of Me was created to be used both at home and in schools. We hear from parents and teachers who are already using it and they are full of praise – “It is quite simply one of the most charming pieces of educational software I have ever come across!” and “It’s wonderful to see the delight on children’s faces. The Land of Me makes them laugh, talk, question and think. They’re captivated.” – and we thought it might be useful to take a look at some of the wonderful, inspiring ways they are using The Land of Me in their classrooms and pass this onto you. The activities can be amended easily for use with smaller groups or if you are reading this as a parent, at home with your children.
A good place to start with The Land of Me is the map, open it up and discuss who could live where and who has made which footprints? Teacher Mary Cook from Fauldhouse NC used The Land of Me map to help children develop their ability to sort objects, by putting different varieties of leaves onto the map and asking the children to sort them into groups.
During sorting activities like this, you can find lots of opportunities to stimulate talk about a wide range of new mathematical concepts – how many in each group? What colours are in the different groups?, What shapes can you see?, What is different and what is the same? and which group has more or less leaves? Another great way of using the map is to ask the children to draw their own maps and use them to create their own sorting games. Once you’ve had a look at the map, you can move on to the other chapters, and let your imagination go!
Chapter Two: The World Outside gives you the perfect opportunity for teaching children about the different environments and animals in the world. At Tyler Green School in Hampshire the teachers focused on The World Outside chapter, starting with the children experimenting with environments around the world, changing weather and different times of day and night on the computer screen. The children were then shown video clips of different animals in their natural habitats before they were given the opportunity to play with small worlds made up of different environments and small toy animals. It is a great chapter to use to extend play away from the computer. The children at Tyler Green then played matching, sorting and memory games focused on animals and where they live. Read more about this activity and see more lovely pictures.
In Chapter Three: Making Things, children can start creating their own buildings by choosing different options on the screen, if they are given an assortment of materials they can then start to make their own dens for small plastic animal toys. Bernadette, a teacher in Dundee, took this idea one step further, when she took the children in her class to the local woods to build dens. This allowed the teachers to introduce the children to an environment that they lived so close to but hadn’t necessarily experienced. Read more about Bernadette’s project.
In 2011 Consolarium, a team at Education Scotland, ran a project using The Land of Me to explore the use of games and technology in enriching and support learning. What resulted was a fantastic use of imagination and creativity. One teacher, Carolyn Mclaren, an Early Years Teacher in Argyll and Bute has been using the Land of Me with a range of children in different settings as well as with children who have English as a second language. She says, “The Land of Me is a great tool and resource because it covers all children’s needs and it is so flexible.” Read more about Carol’s experience with The Land of Me.
There are so many more examples of inspiring ideas from teachers around the UK who are using The Land of Me to take a class on fantastic adventures – designing backpacks and making lists of items they’d need on a trip, practising map skills in the playground and at home by making treasure maps, researching bears, owls and racoons (the main animals in The Land of Me) in the school library and even trips to the Woods to build nests and make magical creatures!
If you’d like to try The Land of Me, then visit www.thelandofme.com to download the Songs and Rhymes chapter for free! Remember to check The Land of Me blog for updated posts on how The Land of Me is being used in classrooms around the country. If your school was a recipient of this year’s Ladybird Start School pack, we’d love to hear how you’re using the DVD ROM of The Land of Me in your school, so please feel free to leave a comment below.