As we move into a new year, many families with young children are finding themselves still balancing their daily responsibilities, while possibly spending extensive amounts of time at home. Finding ways to keep children occupied can be tough, especially if you are trying to manage working from home at the same time or looking to expand their education. We have gathered both child led and parent led ideas that can easily be incorporated into your day to encourage learning and just a bit of structure. Oftentimes, having an array of at-home learning activities on hand can help ward off boredom and keep little minds engaged!
This idea can be customized for any age you wish. The intention with this idea is to curate an activity bag that engages each developmental age range. For Homeschooling families, this is something that can be set out at the start of your school day to ease them into structured learning time. Simply set a timer and hand out the busy bags!
This idea helps bring stories to life! We do recommend modeling this activity first. Afterwards, you can choose to do this alongside your child, or you can turn on the story while they listen and complete a task nearby (laundry anyone!?) Grab a CD player and invest in one or two books that come with a CD version. Pop the CD in and hand your toddler or preschooler the book. Show them how to listen for the sound that signals them to turn the page. Oftentimes, books on CD are paced perfectly for little listeners. If you have a younger baby that cannot do this independently, place them in a jumper next to the player and hold up the book while they listen to the sounds and songs coming from the CD. Older siblings can help to facilitate this one as well. It is a great way to add something extra to at home story time, while introducing an exciting take on early literacy skills!
Young children love getting to use their hands and their imaginations! By gathering the following items, you can create an interchangeable seasonal Play-Doh kit to spark your little one’s creativity. We recommend incorporating a couple containers of Play-Doh, a few small manipulatives (large buttons, pom poms, pipe cleaners, small animal toys) and something seasonal that could be switched out from time to time. Seasonal ideas include pinecones, a small sand shovel, fake spring flowers, small gourds…anything representative of the current season. Encourage them to use the manipulatives alongside the playdoh to create a fun scene. For a parent tip, be sure to set down a plastic tablecloth prior to playtime. This simple step makes cleanup time a breeze. From fine motor skills to imaginative play, this simple go to is a great way to foster play-based learning.
If you are finding yourself trying to juggle working from home while keeping the kiddos entertained, this idea may help to provide you with a few extra minutes to accomplish your own tasks, while watching your child(ren) from nearby. Head into your playroom or set out some toys in the living room. Try to incorporate items that have been rotated out of their toy collection or perhaps something you have been keeping stowed up high in a cabinet to make this play time new and exciting! Turn on some toddler tunes in the background and let them know that while they hear the music, they are free to play but when the music stops, they must freeze! Station yourself nearby the music source so that you can easily turn it on and off for them. This encourages them to engage in a little child led free play, while working on those listening skills. It also just might help you to tackle your to do list from close by.
The ideas above can be incorporated into your day as a Homeschooling family or as a work from home parent who is looking to introduce new and exciting learning opportunities. Whether you choose to encourage your child to complete these activities independently, or together with you, we hope that these ideas help to spark some new and exciting ways to bring learning into your home!
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