The Art of Pairing 

Some time in the last year, I came across the term “strewing”. It refers to strategically placing toys and educational items to be “discovered” by your children.

https://adventuresinteachingmyown.com/2016/06/24/the-art-of-strewing-an-unschooling-moms-secret-weapon/ – here’s a pretty good overview.

I was intrigued. I’ve done a certain amount of this over the years, but I never knew it had a name. 

I’d like to introduce a second “level” to the concept that I call pairing. Simply put, it means placing unrelated items next to each other to invite your children to interact with those objects in new and novel ways. This encourages flexible thinking and problem solving, and you often pick up on some fantastic science concepts along the way.

Case in point: today, I moved a balance board next to a doll house. 


It became a merry-go-round. We would spin it (motor skills) and watch the figures fly off (centripetal force, momentum), we swayed it back & forth & looked at how much of an angle it took for them to slide off (friction, objects at rest tend to stay at rest). We put things in the center and near the edges and observed the differences. 

Note – this was all child-led, and I didn’t mention one science term as we were playing. We just observed how the world works and how two objects that ordinarily don’t fit together can make something new.

A few other ideas we’ve explored:

  • A balloon & a marble
  • Light Brite pegs & Play doh
  • Rubber bands & chairs

Your turn – what objects have you or could you use for unexpected interactions? The possibilities are endless! 

2 thoughts on “The Art of Pairing 

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