I had an opportunity this past weekend to travel to Virginia to visit my brother’s family. He has three kids (my nephews). They are really fun and I really enjoyed the trip!
Before I came home I took the boys to a frozen yogurt place and got everyone a yummy treat! While there, my sister-in-law made an observation that sparked this blog post.
The way these places work is you get a cup and fill it with whatever flavor of yogurt you want. Then you go to the topping bar and load it up with all sorts of good stuff. (I love Snickers pieces, walnuts and brownie chunks). Finally, you pay for it based on how much it weights. It’s a brilliant idea and the kids loved it. But why?
Well the obvious answer is that kids like treats but I think it’s more than that. You can take them to a ice cream store but they have to stand on the other side of the counter and tell the clerk what they want. I think the hands on approach of the yogurt store is much more interesting to the kids.
It was also really interesting to me to see how differently each boy created his yogurt. You really did see their personality come through. There was just this much stronger sense of ownership when they got to build their treat themselves.
Once last observation. The boys are ages 4, 6 and 8 so we didn’t let them do it completely by themselves. (I’m sure we would have ended up with 3 pounds of yogurt if we did!) The adults helped guide the kids through the process. We mostly let them do it, but we were ready to step in if they needed help.
All of this is a good lesson for school I think. If we just try to spoonfeed (pun intended) the kids a standardized set of information, they won’t have ownership of it. A more effective approach would be to let the kids do it themselves and be ready to assist as needed. Each kid will end up with their own unique version of the information, but they will feel a sense of ownership which must help with retention.
It was a really fun experience. I recommend that all my readers should go and have some frozen yogurt this weekend and reflect on my story! (call it research heh heh)