Developing a love for learning at an early age allows children to see the gift that knowledge brings to the world and their own lives. Encouraging your child to learn not just at school, but at home too, shows them the value of learning in any environment and helps them stay curious.
Whether you use a lot of resources, or simply have a pencil and paper, you can plan a variety of learning activities from the comfort of home. Kids love activities that provide choice as well as movement, so make sure whatever learning happens, there are always brain breaks if the child has been sitting for too long.
Remember that learning is a process and there are a variety of fun ways to acquire new knowledge while being creative and inventive with activities.
Research shows that the number one indicator of academic and professional success later in life for children is the amount of reading they are doing at home. Make sure that you are scheduling independent reading time for your kids at home consistently. If your child is a reluctant reader, having a book read aloud to them can help encourage them to enjoy reading.
Whether your child is in primary grades or upper grades, all ages can benefit from family read aloud. Reading books aloud as a family allows for connections to be made as well as deeper discussions about characters and plot events happening in the book. You can also plan activities around events in books such as having your child act out a scene from the book or create a puppet show based on the characters.
As a parent, you may think that science and creativity need to come from intentional and specific academic experiences. But allowing kids to be guided through exploring the world around them encourages the child to be curious and ask probing questions.
If you are hoping to increase your child’s scientific knowledge, start with spending some time outside. Ask your child what they are most curious about. Are they interested in learning about weather, plants, or animals?
Whichever topic they choose, turning the science lesson into a real-world hands-on experience will make for a much more impactful learning experience. The best news is, many of these activities can happen in your own yard. Rent a bounce house to learn about gravity first hand. Or, grab a microscope and check out all of the tiny parts of nature living in your lawn.
Teaching children about what a hypothesis is and then walking them through the steps of the scientific method will encourage them to create their own science experiments. Not only are you getting fresh air and increasing scientific vocabulary with this learning experience, but you are also helping your child develop their critical and creative thinking skills.
As you add more science activities to your child’s learning experiences, have them keep a science journal to document their observations as well as questions they may have while exploring.
The word STEM has become a common education buzzword in the last few decades and for good reason. The workforce is adding more and more jobs in the fields of science, engineering, and technology at a rapid pace. Encouraging children to enhance and explore these skills will help them both in school and out in the real world.
Show your child an example of a Rube Goldberg machine. Kids not only love building and hands-on activities but also watching events happen in chain reactions (this is why simple games like dominoes are so popular).
Teach your child about the basics of the engineering design process and then have them brainstorm an idea for their own Rube Goldberg machine. Remind them to start with a simple task such as building a chain reaction to knock over a book or moving an item around and then encourage them to make more complex machines as they gain experience.
Kids love a challenge and are naturally curious about the world around them. Planning a scavenger hunt is the perfect activity to get any child engaged in learning. Whether you are trying to help a child learn their math facts or new vocabulary words, you can incorporate any academic subject into the scavenger hunt while also making it fun and exciting to find new clues.
Adding a little reward at the end if they are successful will help increase motivation and excitement as well. Set up a scavenger hunt around the house or yard with clues. Before the child can move on to the next clue, tell them they have to answer the question that is asked on each clue card.
In order to make sure a child does not reach a level of frustration while enjoying the scavenger hunt, make some questions on the clue cards easier than others to ensure they won’t lose confidence or engagement while participating. If they get stuck, give them some hints to help them move on to the next clue. If they enjoy the first scavenger hunt, challenge them to make a scavenger hunt for you to solve next time.
Map skills are a part of any age group’s curriculum and are important to practice consistently. To make geography engaging at home, have your child create a map with the food you have around the house. You can make a map key that has oceans created by spaghetti noodles dipped with blue food coloring or marker and countries or states made with whatever other pasta or cereals you may have lying around.
Salt dough maps are another engaging and popular option to learn geography. Kids can make the salt dough using a few simple household ingredients. When kids participate in hands-on activities for learning like salt dough maps, they not only remember the content because they enjoyed the learning but they will also see learning as something that can be fun and not a chore.
Developing learning activities at home for your children doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming. There are numerous resources out there to help encourage both you and your child to learn from the comfort of home. You can even lesson plan together to encourage ownership of the learning for your child. And no matter what, remember that learning should be fun and not a chore and your child will want to keep coming back for more.
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