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!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Successful Learning Tip: Provide Experiences
There are many ways for a child to learn, but the best way to learn is through first hand experiences. As often as you can, provide first-hand experiences for your child. Today, I will discuss three ideas: trips, pets, and friends.
Trips bring the world around your child to life. They expand his horizons. Reading about a bunny is nice. Touching a live bunny teaches the child a lot more about that bunny. Telling a child a cow says moo is great. The child hearing the cow say moo will bring a smile to her face. Explaining to your child how big a fighter jet is no match for taking him to the museum and having him walk around it.
For each week, I try to do a "field trip" that is in conjunction with our theme for the week. This hasn't always been possible. During light house week, I had no lighthouse to go visit. I live in the West....no lighthouses here. But you can talk about how lighthouses are on shore lines, and so is sand, and play in the sand.
The experiences your child has will make him more interested in learning about topics. He might think it is fun to look at books of dinosaurs and to play with dinosaurs. But if you go to a dinosaur museum, he is going to have so much more interest when you learn about dinosaurs in the future. This is one reason why I think it is so valuable to visit actual history museums and historical sites. The places and people become more real. This is one reason why I think every citizen of the US should visit Washington DC and take in all of the historical sites (well, as many as they can. ALL is a bit hard to do in an average vacation). It lights a fire and appreciation in you. You want to learn more and you want to do more.
You don't have to go far. Most places have lots of museums around them. Look into what tourists do in your area. Go to the County Fair to see lots of different animals. Check out the Simple Summer Fun posts for more ideas.
Field trips and vacations aren't the only important experiences for your child to have. Another great experience for the child is a family pet. As a child, I grew up with countless pets. I had dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, birds, fish, rabbits, goats, sheep, horses...lots of pets. I learned so much from these pets. Now, as a parent, I fully recognize pets are not easy and not always fun. I thought getting a puppy would be great fun and a breeze. I had about 10 dogs in my life to that point. I could handle it. Well, having a dog as the parent is a different experience than having it as the child. But no matter how mad I get at that dog (did I mention she is a Lab? Ever see Marley and Me? That is a true depiction of life with labs), she brings joy to my children, and I have to forgive her :).
But don't just have the pet. As your child gets older, add responsibilities for your child to care for the pet. And you don't have to go to dog. Fish can work great, too. I once had a goldfish live over 8 years. That was more than I bargained for when I brought it home :). That is a lot of tank cleaning. But don't be scared; most goldfish don't live that long.
Another great way to provide experiences for your child is to provide opportunities for your child to play with other children. Play with neighbors and cousins. Have playdates. Go to the park and encourage your child to make friends with the children there. Social skills are important in life. We have to learn to get along with people, and learning to make friends is a great skill.
These are all some basic ways to provide opportunities for your child to be set up for successful learning.