This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Just Not Creative!

I'm not going to sit here and tell you how to write a lesson plan with an anticipatory set and all that other lingo that teachers have to use. What I would like to address is the comments I've heard like, "I'm just not creative," "I don't know where to start," "how do I make learning fun?" etc. How about "My kid likes ____. How do I plan something for that?"
Okay, calling all non-creative, road-blocked, well-meaning non-teacher parents! (And all the rest of you!) What do you do to help your child get interested in learning? What about the wiggly toddler? The "I only want to play" kid? The "Mommy is talking. Time to glaze over" kiddo? (And by the way, my child is in ALL of those categories!!)
It may not be the right way, but here's a few pointers to get you going:
1. What do they like? Cars? Animals? Princesses? Bugs? The Solar System? If you can't name anything specific, what gets you excited? Enthusiasm is contagious!
2. Start with a book. It's the easiest way to start. Go to Google, Barnes and Noble.com, Amazon.com, or your library's web page. Start searching for books for kids in that subject area. Try to get some fiction AND non-fiction. Don't run from the non-fiction...it can end up being a favorite. Take the list and go to the library and check them out!
3. What letter can you associate with this topic? Does a number go well with it? Start simple! Don't try to get your 18 month old to write the letter S. You are setting yourself up for frustration. Show them an Ss, show them pictures of things that start with Ss, and get silly making sounds, but don't expect them to be able to recognize it tomorrow. They might, but don't get set on it. If you are reading the Three Little Pigs, try the letter P and the number 3!
4. Can you think of even a simple craft to go with this? If animals, how can you make an animal face? If a bug, can you construct one together? What items can you use instead of paper? Look in your cabinet!! If you can't think of one, GOOGLE! No one said you needed a teaching degree when you became a mom. :)
5. Snack time! How can you incorporate food? KIDS LOVE FOOD! Even if it's a simple as making a letter out of pancake batter to make capital T for breakfast, they will love it!!!
6. Math: Is there a color, counting, graph, or patterning activity I can make out of this topic? Three Little Pigs? Use the color pink! Sort out all the pink jelly beans! Do a color hunt for the color pink!
7. Trips! Any place you can take them to get a better hands-on experience? Museum? Zoo? Library? Pet shop? School? Planetarium? If not, how can you make it more real for them? My daughter LOVES it when I print off pictures from the Internet of whatever she's curious about. We were in Panera Bread on evening and she heard some music she despised. It ended up being the saxophone...a word and sound she's never heard before. And she certainly had NO idea what it looked like. So we printed one off and now she's practically an expert. Okay, I exaggerate, but she knows a lot about them. That leads me to...
8. Teachable moments! I would never in a million years thought to teach her about the saxophone. But a random outing sparked her curiosity. I had a choice...let it die down, or run with it. Watch your child, listen to questions, and think about how you can show them something that they are really interested in.
9. And I almost forgot: Gross motor skills and games! What kind of large movement can you have them do?Walk like an elephant? Spin like a planet? Think think think!

Okay, so now that you've been overloaded, I'm going to post on Tuesday an example of what I mean. We studied bears this week (another random teachable moment I ran with) and I'll give you a step by step plan of what we did during our bear unit. :)

In the meantime...what topics or questions do you have? Are there specific activities you want to see covered on this site? Let us know! We are here to help! Do you want more specific topic ideas? Do you want more book recommendations? Gross motor? How-tos? What needs do you have right now?


Amanda said...

Great post! I definitely fall into the un-creative mom category, that's why I was a 6-12 English major and not an elementary education major, lol! I love these tips, I use the internet a lot for ideas. I was always told in my college education classes to borrow ideas whenever I found a good one. There's no need to re-invent the wheel!! Some things may seem tired and old to us, but to our kids it's all brand new and interesting.

Paxton said...

Great tips! Thank you for releasing some of the pressure teaching our kids can create!


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