When I had my children, I didn’t want to rely on technology.
So I started putting my own bags of activities together that I could pull out when I needed them. Voila... Busy Bag's was born! (Read the whole story here)
Now, because I'm a primary school teacher, it was important to me that the activities my kids were engaging in, were stimulating and encouraged problem solving that engaged my boy's hands and his mind.
It's sometimes really tricky to come up with idea's all the time but I find if you have lots of tools in the kit, ready to go, you're 90% of the way there with thinking up awesome ways to learn through play.
Here are 9 ways I like to encourage learning through play.
1 - Go for a walk
No matter what your children's ages are, going for a walk presents a huge amount of opportunity for learning from road safety to social skills. Play eye spy or come up with a goal of finding 10 different coloured, shaped or feeling leaves. The possibilities for learning from going for a walk are endless.
2 - Arts and crafts
People are visual and the majority of us learn better through visual experiences. So the fact that art and crafts is a way to learn through play makes absolute sense!
Setting up a space to be creative helps with brain function and development by forcing children to make decisions, solve problems, pay attention to detail and self evaluate. It encourages observation, language and vocabulary by talking through what they are doing and finding ways to describe their arts and crafts. Through art they learn practical things about colours, designs, shapes, and it of course provides a fun way to practice using muscles and coordination that develops their fine motor skills.
3 - Take turns picking a topic to learn
Try setting a timer fo 2-5 minutes, take turns picking a topic and then have a race against the clock (or egg timer!) to see how much you can get down about your topic. It really is that simple! It's fun to see what you can come up with, helps with recollection, language, fine motor skills and communication amongst other things. I'd love to know how you get on!
4 - Explore the garden
Open the door and go outside! Look for leaves, stones, different textures, kick a ball, have a race. The possibilities are endless!
5 - Learn about an issue in your local community
If you're child is a bit older or is really into something, find out where you can go to learn more. You never know where it might end up and it could be the bases for a life long learning or passion.
6 - Go on a counting mission
Look high and low through the house to see what you can count 100 or more of (or less if that is best for your child!). Count pieces of rice, pasta, cereal, tiles. It's incredible what they start to notice once you pay attention to detail. Talk about volume, weight or height. Compare and ask questions like 'how does 100, 100's and thousands' look different to 100 pieces of penne pasta?
7 - Cooking or baking
Learn about measurements, ingredients, shopping, where our food comes from, temperature, following instructions. You could make muffins or do an easy non-bake recipe such as bliss balls. If real cooking and baking is off the cards for today, you could always pull out some Busy Bag's felt food!
8 - Go to a local libary
Go to the library. Have story time and research something.
9 - Busy Bag's!
Busy Bag's NZ has a whole range of activities to encourage learning through play! There's something here for everyone from babies through to 5 years + and you can see some of our favourite picks here. Busy Bag's are perfect for having around the home, in your car and even keeping in your bag.
What are your favourite activities for kids that encourage learning through play?
I'd love to hear.
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