Tuesday, October 6, 2015

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Geology Lessons & Preschool Activities with Rock On! Game!

What would you do if your son asked you to host a geology-themed party for his birthday?  Melissa Weisner jumped at the opportunity, and created a fantastic geology game, Rock On!, that our kiddos have fallen in love with!

Melissa, a mom in Colorado, hosted that geology-birthday party her son asked for!  Everyone had such a fantastic time that she worked with preschool and elementary teachers to focus the learning activities around an Earth Science curriculum.  Now, Rock On! is Amazon's #1 geology game!

And it's easy to see why!  The game itself comes with five built-in "levels" to accomodate skills from early preschool up through elementary school.

The preschool level is very similar to BINGO.  Call cards have pictures of 15 different rocks, each with additional information in a question and answer format.  Each rock is represented with a large (1"-2") speciman and several smaller polished pieces.  Players take turns choosing a call card, placing the corresponding large rock speciman on the "Master Rock Guide," and marking their own cards with the polished marker rocks.

ALL of my kids, and their neighbor friends, have loved playing this version.  The older children don't even mind that it is simple enough for preschoolers to play too!  I randomly find groups of them playing it with each other.  This little group, led by my 8-year old, played with each other four times one afternoon:

Sometimes, though, when my oldest gets a "special activity" with mom or dad, she has a TON of fun playing the "advanced" versions.  These are similar to the preschool version, but they include chances for bonus markers based on the questions on the cards.  SUPER fun!

And Rock On! is so much more than just a geology game (though,by itself, that is extremely cool)!  It is a chance for children to explore, handle, examine, and learn about their world by using really neat rocks!

MORE Preschool Activities With Rock On!:

1. Identifying Rocks:  The first thing we had to do when we opened the box was let everyone touch all of the big rock specimen.  Then, of course, they wanted to name them all!  Naming them used matching, reasoning, analysis, and process of elimination skills.  These are important early math and science skills that they will build on for years!

The best part is that even after they identified them once, they use the same skills to re-identify them every time they play, until they've memorized them.

They also love finding rocks outside that match the rocks in the game!

2.  Sorting Rocks:  There are more than 50 beautifully polished marker stones that all our kiddos LOVE.  The first time we opened the box, they carefully combed through each rock, studied them closely, and sorted them into their favorite piles.

Now when they take them out, they sort out their favorites (which often change) and try to name as many as they can.

Sorting is also an early math and science skill!

3.  Colors and Counting:  This is my younger preschoolers' favorite!  They like to choose a color, pull out all of the rocks that are that color, and then count them.

4.  Matching:  Match the polished rocks to the larger, "raw" rocks, or at least as many as you can!  This is incredibly fun and takes a lot of reasoning and analysis.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to talk about weathering and polishing.

5.  Trivia!  Older kids who can read may enjoy this more, but once my younger kids learn a new fact, they love to tell adults also.  "Mommy, did you know..." and "Mom, what do you think...."  Kids love challenging adults with trivia!  And it is easy to tuck the cards, with their questions and answers, into the carrying case and take it in the car.  As they quiz you, your kiddos will learn tons about rocks, minerals, the rock cycle, and so much more!

6.  Hands-on Learning: There are samples of all three types of rocks (igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary), several minerals, and several crystals.  You can pull these out to illustrate different parts of the rock cycle, weathering, erosion, and more!

7.  Math Manipulatives:  You can also pull out the rocks, and use their names, any time you need math manipulatives.  They work great for activities like the Hidden Numbers Blanket Game, or any time you need something small to count or demonstrate with! 

I've tried a few different set-ups with this game, and found them all very successful:

* My kiddos love having it at a center table where they can get it and play with it anytime they like.  The rules are straight-forward, and the preschool-level can be completed in about ten minutes.  This provides a really healthy child-led group activity!

* We've used it as a quiet time activity when some of the younger children are sleeping.  This is super popular because the older kids feel like they actually get to play during quiet time!

* Finally, we've pulled it out for a group activity.  Sometimes (especially lately, as I am homeschooling through the end of a pregnancy), I find myself just wanting something that takes no planning, is tons of fun, involves everybody, and is still educational.  With all the early math, science, and geology skills that are involved in actually playing Rock On!, I feel like my kiddos are playing to learn.  And, best of all, it encourages a love of learning.  And that, (developing a love of learning) is one of my ultimate educational goals for our young children.  The more they enjoy the learning process, they more they continue to learn.

I am just thrilled that Melissa, the creator of Rock On!, has taken the initiative and challenge of creating a game that has so much appeal to children and incorporates so much learning as they play!  I am happy to recommend it to everyone!  It is currently available on Amazon (affiliate link below).

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Disclosure: I was provided with a complementary product to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine!  I only recommend products that I expect my readers to love!

I may share at any of these parties!

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