4 Simple Tricks To Help Make Our Kids Great Learners

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4 Simple Tricks To Help Make Our Kids Great Learners

May 30, 2017

Written by:  Ash Stevens

It used to be that you went to kindergarten to learn colors, shapes, and numbers, and take group naps. Today, if kindergartners walk into school without this knowledge, they’re considered at-risk.

Early education isn’t just a good idea — it’s mandatory. But busy parents struggle to find a moment to sneak in quality learning, let alone find time to encourage their child to be a good learner. Luckily, we can make this whole learning thing a whole lot simpler.

Thanks to my time studying education (both in school and as a hands-on mother), I’ve found simple tricks that teach pre-kindy basics while also helping our kids master developmental milestones like gross motor, fine motor, language, cognitive, and social skills. These basic tips even make it possible to accomplish both at the same time! We just need to keep these things in mind….

Put The Fun In Education (And The Education In Fun)  

So, it’s turns out that reciting letters and writing the alphabet on command doesn’t make for an engaging learning experience. Engagement is key when it comes to learning, because you can’t educate if you can’t capture and maintain attention. But how can you capture their interests?

Well, the secret to that is simple. You do it through their interests. When it comes to young ones, that can almost always be pulled off through games, play, and crafts. Some creative parents are bringing math to the playground by way of scales, chalk, and dirt. Other parents are combining playdough with cookie cutters for an alphabet or spelling activity. Then there are parents educating their energetic play-loving kids by way of kinesthetic learning activities. Other parents have recognized that their child’s needs and interests actually give video games a place in education (with skill-specific or education-minded games, of course). Whatever route you go, there’s no need for boring pen and paper with the crazy-fun learning tools available.

Help Kids Learn To Think For Themselves

Little ones have so much to learn, so expect to give regular reminders to help their lessons stick. Because of this, we often get caught up in saying “yes” and “no,” and telling our kids what to do. This approach has a time and a place, but at some point, our kids will need to learn to think for themselves. The sooner that can happen the better.

The best activities for our kids will depend on their ages and development, but that’s what makes it so easy. Since you know your child and what they need to develop, you can create your own activity. You could do a lesson on emotions and how they’re expressed, like the Mad Face, Scary Face activity. A craft could be turned into a learning session on colors by making a beaded necklace using specific colors, or creating a collage using paper that’s been cut into the shape-of-the-week. You could find them a locker to teach them organization and placement (plus give them practice for public school). There are so many different ways we can go about it. Whether we go all-out and plan it to the T, or we keep it simple and spontaneous, what really matters is that we help our kids build skills.

Provide Opportunities For Life-Inspired Play

It always blows my mind when a two year old can talk and act exactly like an adult. As entertaining as it is, it also happens to be extraordinary for their development. Children learn by mimicking what they see, and giving them life-like scenes to play in gives them a chance to act these situations out. Be it a kitchen set, a blackboard for “school,” a mini dishwashing bin, or a pretend laptop, kids can act out real-life adult situations that will naturally enhance their understanding of things (like, say, “cooking” happens after washing hands and prepping toy food). They get practice for the adulting that’s years in their future, but they also get a chance to work on developmental milestones like social skills, language skills, and fine motor abilities.

This kind of experiential learning is the foundation of the Montessori classes that so many parents rave about. Setting up this kind of learning may sound pricey and space-consuming, but you can pull it off with nothing but a shelf and some simple experiential materials that you put through rotation. If you want ideas, get some inspiration from Deb Chitwood’s blog Living Montessori Now.

Offer The Freedom To Discover And Explore

When it comes to learning, there’s nothing like hands-on experience. According to longtime educator Charlene Kaplan of Concordia University-Portland, one of the most important changes in early childhood education is giving young children the freedom to play with materials and experiment freely. Giving kids the chance to tinker and learn by trial-and-error will help them develop critical thinking skills and personal know-how. Plus, curiosity is a source of determination and inspiration. Pique a child’s curiosity, and they’ll be hungry to learn more.

That sums up the learning tips for today! But if you want to learn about more learning activities for early childhood, keep on reading by checking out the posts below…

50 Incredible Alphabet Learning Activities For Preschoolers from Hands On As We Grow

Preschool Math Activities from Education.com

12 Outdoor Learning Activities For Preschoolers And Toddlers from Me Plus 3 Today

Auditory, Visual & Kinesthetic: Helping Kids Succeed Through Different Learning Styles from Whitby School

 

And don’t forget to share your favorite activities and tips down in the comments!

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