School is in full swing and the kids are coming home full of new ideas and questions and knowledge. School is fun and exciting but it doesn’t have to stop when they step on the school bus. Take your child’s education a step further and introduce everyday activities and experiences as learning opportunities.
Embrace the Mess- Artistic expression cannot be contained on a piece of paper or tabletop. Let the creative juices flow outside the lines and into the world around. Instead of painting on an easel, spread paper across the garage door, the side of the house or on the deck. If you are tight on open space use an open parking space.
Break it Down- We want our children to pitch in and help to develop some responsibility. Instead of going down an entire list of daily chores and tasks in one sitting, try breaking it up into morning and evening responsibilities. Becoming overwhelmed over the to-do list is a sure fire way to bring down a child’s energy.
Find Time for Extracurriculars- Local parks and recreations departments, Boys and Girls Clubs, and even your own child’s school are great places to find opportunities for fun after school activities. Sports and arts are integral components to growing minds and bodies. You never know, a new hobby might emerge.
Hit the Books – Reading is one of the best ways to keep minds growing and thinking and expanding. Visit libraries and bookstores so they can find the genre that best suits them. Let your children see you read. Encourage group readings where the children and parents take turns reading a classic or humorous story.
Promote Independent Play – Everyone needs their own space. If your children share a room or don’t have a dedicated play room, carve out a nook or corner that each child can call their own. It could be a special pillow next to a toybox or bookcase, it doesn’t matter. Let that be where your child can create, imagine, read, and learn on their own. Don’t use this space as punishment.
Talk about Everything – The incessant questions are sometimes too much after a long day, but don’t stomp on your child’s curiosity. Ask your child questions about school, friends, playdates and even shows they’ve watched on television. Expand simple questions about “what’s for dinner” into ideas for new meals and cultural cuisine differences.