It’s not easy being a parent today. With the rise of social media and increased pressure to the “perfect”, parents find themselves constantly trying to improve their children any way they can. This can sometimes lead to small children going from enrichment class to enrichment class. While many swear by that route, you can go about raising a smart toddler in many different ways.
Today’s post will go over a a few things parents can do daily to help expand the minds of their little ones.
Back to Nature
With busy schedules and safety concerns, children are less likely be found outside. If possible though, children should be outside as much as possible. The outdoors are filled with so many educational possibilities – many outside the “science” realm.
- Outside, without borders, children can truly be children.
- They can create play spaces of their own in the trees or woods.
- They can push their physical limits on playground or open fields.
- Children discover nature best when left to explore it uninhibited.
Families living in the city can still promote experiences in nature. Take your kids to the zoo. Find a local park. Or enroll your child in some nature program. There are programs such as TimberNook that cater specifically to sensory experiences in nature.
Books are so important to childhood development. Children learn through stories. In stories they can visit lands they never heard of before. They can visit countries far away and learn about people from decades ago. By allowing your child to get immersed in a book you ultimately allow them to expand their imagination.
There are also more educational benefits to book. A child’s vocabulary also expands when parents read aloud. Not to mention, be read to is extremely relaxing.
Every Day Chores Can Be Educational
Parents should find the educational aspect in everyday activities. This is especially important if you’re a stay at home parent. Being at home, and sometime stuck at home, doesn’t need to mean you’re not expanding your child’s horizons.
- Make a list of every chore or activity you do during the day. From there, take note of what can be learned by that activity.
- Laundry – folding can become a sorting and matching game. Your little one can sort clothes by owner. Matching socks is the ultimate matching game. Have your toddler fold washcloths to work on their fine motor skills.
- Cleaning – Sweeping is a gross motor activity that will keep kids entertained. Talk about the amount of force needed to pull and push a broom back and forth.
- Putting Away Dishes – When you put dishes away talk about the size of each, which is smaller and which is bigger.
- Grocery Shopping – At the supermarket you can talk about prices with older kids. Talk about price per unit if they can grasp that concept. Give them the task of finding the best deal for each item on your list.
- Errands – Taking your child on errands can sometimes be stressful. But these are great opportunities to expand their horizons. Getting out of your house helps you get out of your shell. Teach your child about the things and people you see. Emergency responders, construction workers, business men and women, and more will give you so much to talk about.
Science Can Be Found Everywhere
In this modern world, we often take things for granted. We assume our TVs will turn on, our cell phones will charge, etc. The science behind what makes all the things around us is a great jumping off point for educational experiences. To instill a love of science and all things STEM, encourage discussion about how things work, starting with the simple items around us.
But there is so much beyond just the technology in our homes. Look around outside to discover the intricacies of the world outdoors.
- Small items such as clothespins or magnets. How do they work. Try to take these items apart if possible and put them back together.
- Look up at the stars. What stars can you see and why? What stars do people on the other side of the world see?
- Baking is science! The exact mixture makes the perfect cake. Put in too much of one item and it changes drastically. Try playing with different quantities to see the results.
Choose Educational Toys
Parents should keep only the most educational items on hand. This also includes toys. In recent years toy manufacturers have become more and more focused on education.
Make sure to look for the best educational toys for preschoolers and older when choosing gifts for your children. The best toys will not only keep them busy and entertained, but will engage their senses and their brain.
Have a Positive View of School
Children tend to take on the views of the parents. Even if not entirely. It’s similar to how when a child falls, they look to their parent’s face to see how bad it is. If the parent winces and makes a face, the child often bursts out crying.
Parents should always speak about school in a positive manner. Relate good times in your past and talk about all the wonderful things you learned while in school. Children who hear parents talk about disliking school often think they’ll also dislike school.
By only speaking positively about school and school experiences, we give our kids a head start towards loving education and excelling in class.
There are so many different ways to promote learning experiences in your day to day activities. Parents who work on exploiting these opportunities ultimately help give their children a leg up. Not only are these amazing learning experiences, but the bonding experience between child and parent is most important.