By: Daisy Falcon, Bilingual Service Coordinator, Penfield Children’s Center
Even if your child’s school or daycare boasts a strong academic program, it can still be helpful to supplement what they’re learning at home. By doing this, parents help children feel more comfortable with their new-found skills, take an active part in their child’s learning and provide brain-boosting activities at home that keep young mind’s engaged, instead of playing video games or watching TV.
These 5 ideas for learning at home are fun AND educational:
- Take fieldtrips. Ask your child’s teacher for an outline of what they’ll be learning each week at school and take a field trip to celebrate that lesson over the weekend. Are dinosaurs on the list for the week? Check out your local museum. Is your child learning how plants grow? Explore a nearby nature reserve and take a look at each part of a flower. These field trips are a great way to give your child hands-on experience with the lessons she is learning in school.
- Turn your house into a classroom. This is especially helpful when your child is learning a new language. Stick post-it notes with vocab words on different objects around the house. For example, is your child taking a Spanish class this semester? Stick a post-it note labeled “libro” to her favorite book, “jabón” to a bottle of soap and “leche” to a carton of milk. With babies and toddlers, create different learning areas around the house, such as a basket full of stacking toys in a corner in the living room, board books in a book nook for easy access, pretend food so she can cook alongside you in the kitchen and a bucket full of art supplies near her highchair for a quick art activity.
- Ask for help with daily tasks. While the tasks themselves might take a bit of extra time to complete, allowing your child to help teaches life-skills early on and improves fine and gross motor skills. Allow your child to stir the cookie batter, provide her with a small basket of laundry to fold, purchase a kid-sized mop and broom set so she can help you clean and teach her to set the table. Although the outcome will rarely be perfect, the act of helping you complete these activities is what matters!
- Have your child pay for a treat at the store. Visit the ice cream shop and ask your child to count the money and pay the cashier. With younger children, give them a lesson about what each bill and coin represent. A 5 dollar bill equals 5 dollars, one quarter equals twenty five cents and so on. Give your child a small allowance for completing extra chores and ask her to count the money in the jar each week. This is a great way to help early math skills develop and teach the value of money.
- Travel and learn! Planning a trip? Check out a book with your child at the library that talks about that city or country. Make a list attractions and historical sites you’d like to see when you arrive and go on a scavenger hunt. Seeing the sites in real life after learning about them in a book is exciting and can oftentimes provide a history lesson they might later learn about in school.
By integrating educational activities into daily life, your child will realize that learning is fun! She will become more interested in the world around her and look forward to exploring some of the natural wonders nearby. It will also help her understand more difficult concepts, instead of just memorizing facts.
How do you supplement your child’s learning at home?