Submitted by Laura Pearson
Keeping your kids engaged and learning outside of the classroom is challenging at times, even for the most creative moms and dads. However, there are ways to raise the bar on informal education, and it doesn’t need to feel difficult or unwieldy for you or your children. In fact, with the following ideas incorporated into your strategies, you might find it feels quite natural—and even downright fun!
STEAM Things Up
The internet opens an amazing array of learning opportunities for all ages, and that’s certainly true when it comes to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) subjects. Earth Science Jr. recommends looking into highly rated options like NOVA, Workbench, and The Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge.
Mix things up a bit and find what truly jibes with your youngsters, and remember that what is engaging for them might change a week from now. As interests ebb and flow, aim for the flavor of the day so the positive energy and excitement continues. Just be sure to limit screen time appropriately so your kids get value from the experience. Striking a balance between electronics and “real life” is the key to keeping it healthy.
Also keep in mind that learning should be a fun activity and not too serious. As Be You Parenting explains, your own attitude is instrumental in how your child will perceive any given experience. From online classes to other learning activities, keeping things light can work wonders.
You might not think of board games as teaching tools, but with good choices and the right attitude, they absolutely can be. In addition to things like math, strategy, and memorization, games can teach valuable life lessons, like teamwork, sharing, and cooperation.
Look for options that mesh with your child’s age and abilities, snag a handful of games so you have a great selection to pick from, and sit down to enjoy them together. Traditional favorites like Candyland are timeless sources of fun and learning, but don’t overlook newer options like The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game, which provides an opportunity for preschoolers to work on things like eye-hand coordination and learning colors. If you have particularly competitive kids, there are even games like Castle Panic, which helps them develop better cooperation skills.
One of the great things about these non-tech options is you can get away from screens and get into togetherness. Pop some popcorn for an enjoyable way to pass time after supper, surprise your kids with a midday event, or even brighten mornings with family fun. It’s a simple and entertaining way to bond as a family, and at the same time, educate your youngsters.
Go Outside and Play
Nature offers an endless supply of inspiration and development for children, so it’s a wonderful go-to when you’re looking for (literally) outside learning opportunities. What’s more, as Parenting Science explains, there are emotional and cognitive benefits from time spent outdoors. More stable mental health, clearer thinking, and reduced stress levels are among the perks, and Mom and Dad can reap the same sorts of benefits, too.
Get into your backyard and do some exploring or have a family-friendly scavenger hunt, or head to walking or hiking trails for adventurous games. Make sure your outdoor activities are rooted not only in fun, though. A measure of safety is a must, so review concerns like first aid procedures, check for weather threats, stay hydrated, and protect yourselves from sun and irritating plants and insects. Nature has its benefits, but just one incident can spoil the fun.
When it comes to engaging your kids in healthy learning opportunities, getting outside the classroom can mean more family bonding and improved child development. Consider STEAM classes via the web, play some games together, and include outdoor activities in your repertoire. By keeping things light and safe, everyone will have a great experience.
Mary shares her desire to create different possibilities for families and individuals who are looking to live a more conscious and aware lifestyle. BE YOU Parenting is for parents who want to BE all that they truly BE and to allow their kids the same privilege.