With all of the uncertainty of this back to school season, one thing is clear: This will be a school year unlike any other. Whether children are in school or distance learning at home, or some combination of the two, parents may feel challenged to find creative ways to incorporate learning opportunities into homelife.
“It’s so important to seek out activities that expand on fun to keep children learning, especially now,” said Dr. Elanna Yalow, Chief Academic Officer of KinderCare Education. “Teachers often spend the first month or so of the new school year re-teaching the skills and ideas children forgot while they were out of their normal school year routines during the summer. This year they have the added challenge of helping children catch up from where school ended in the spring and adjust to virtual learning, which can be challenging for some students. Families can set their child up for success by weaving learning into daily activities.”
Here are three tips for creative learning opportunities to help your child build on their school lessons whether they’re studying at a school desk or the kitchen table.
Few activities are as impactful on a child’s learning than reading. Whether that means reading with and to younger children or encouraging older children to read on their own, there are plenty of ways to enjoy reading even though many libraries remain closed. Children could create a reading list centered around a favorite topic, or even start a virtual book club with their friends or out-of-town family members. Another way to encourage children to read is to have them research something they’re interested in and present their findings to the family.
Practice problem-solving skills
The ability to define a problem, brainstorm and create solutions, and incorporate feedback teach children a variety of important skills that carry over into nearly all aspects of learning. Gather a small toy and some common household objects (like paper, pencils or pens, yarn, tape, craft sticks, clothespins, paper clips, rubber bands, etc.) and invite your child to use the supplies to transport the toy from one side of the room to the other without the toy touching the ground or being touched by a person. Help your child evaluate their solution. Is there room for improvement? If so, try a new method of transport, then bring other family members in to show them the final result. Give your child a moment in the spotlight to showcase their creative solution!
Nature scavenger hunt
According to research by North Carolina State University’s Natural Learning Initiative, kids who spend more time playing outside benefit in all sorts of ways, including better creative problem solving, improved focus and cognitive skills, and even drops in conditions from nearsightedness to Attention Deficit Disorder. Encourage your child to explore nature by creating a scavenger hunt board of things to find outside in your yard. You and your child can brainstorm all of the things that should go on the board and work together to see what you can find outdoors.
Most importantly, help your child find a school day rhythm that works for them, and for you. Take breaks throughout the day and create a schedule that allows the whole family to find a balance between work and play.
There are two new KinderCare Learning Centers opening soon in Indianapolis:
The Bearsdale KinderCare is located on 12015 Pendleton Pike
The Avon Trails KinderCare is located 10325 E County Rd 100 N.