Creating fun, educational activities for your little one doesn’t have to be a costly venture. Find out how you can shape engaging experiences using common household items.
The biggest hurdle for many a parent who is trying to engage their child in a bit of fun is mess. We often put pressure on ourselves to have everything ‘just so’ which means stress can often arrive when the glitter comes out!
Children learn best through hands on, explorative, MESSY play. Kinaesthetic, practical learning helps them make connections between cause and effect as well as explore their own boundaries. Educational activities can have a real impact on young children when we consider how they are making sense of the world around them. There’s always time to clean up messes later!
Great educational activities for babies and toddlers often involve the transferring and sorting of objects. For tiny tots, this could be something as simple as moving cotton wool balls or sponges from one Tupperware container to another. You’ll be amazed at how endlessly delighted they are by something seemingly so simple – this is actually complex fine motor skills in action. Watch their hand movements as they work out how to manipulate the tiny objects across space.
Older children can try the same task but use an implement to do so. Ask them to move the objects using a spoon, a spatula or some tongs. You’ll notice some frustration set in (we’re talking toddlers, after all!) but the pay off will be significant.
Need your DVD shelf or bookshelf reorganised? What about doing so according to colour?
Line out all the items on the floor. Work with your pre-prep child to group the objects into their main colours. Once that’s complete, ask for their help putting them back onto the shelves to form a rainbow! Hey, it might not make it easy to find titles but educational activities like this really get those little brains working.
Think of this as jenga for the toddler set. Collect your toilet roll holders instead of throwing them out. Once you have about twenty or so bring them into an open space and ask your child to make the biggest structure that they can.
Educational activities like this involve the manipulation of objects and space. Your child may need help snipping some of the rolls to allow them to slot together. You may also suggest colouring them in! Who would have thought one little toilet roll could bring so much joy?
Don’t be fooled by the ‘latest and greatest’ in pre-prep educational toys. Time spent learning in the company of parents has far more impact than a pricey object. Look around your house to see what you’ve got before parting with your cash!
Louise Lavery is a content writer and the online content manager for Families Magazine & Families Online - a resource for parents with children aged 0-13. Families Magazine is the Clever Resource for Thinking Parents.