For a child to thrive and learn, the enriched environment does not need to be furnished with expensive toys or electronic gadgets; all he needs is stimulating objects and someone to interact with daily.
I created the post above and thought it would be a great idea if we have a little chat about it today…
To a child – FUN or PLAY = Learning. They learn through being interactive, being physical; they learn through listening, touch and feel.
Children love to interact with people who they trust and love, listening to music, repeating words and play, singing songs over and over with you, or watching a movie segment over and over again with you. They also love to participate in whatever you are doing, such as meal preparations, joining you in your grocery shopping etc.
Whenever you are interacting with your children – make it FUN! Make those interactions memorable and joyful for your children.
Use simple everyday tools. I am going to use kitchen/cooking as examples to show how you can encourage your child's learning by involving then in the kitchen. My favourite way to have fun and connect with them is to directly involve them whenever I am cooking or baking.
I would invite them to help me with the food preparation, such as washing the vegetables, chopping up potatoes, carrots, washing rice before cooking etc.
For younger children
- They can help with sorting out tomatoes, potatoes or other vegetables. You can get them to help you to bring the tomatoes to keep them in the fridge etc.
- Use a stool for them to stand on, while you stand next to them and guide them.
- I used to use the baby chair for my daughter to sit in, and placed her plastic cutlery set on the tray. I would give her some of my vegetables and she would be helping me to cut.
For older children
- For children around 2 years old, they can help with laying the table, i.e. place the folk and spoon as well as plates. Guide them on how /where to place the cutlery, i.e. where to place the fork and spoon, is it next to the plate?
- They can help you with scooping up the rice, help with washing it, measuring the water and using the rice cooker.
I have a step ladder that my son used to step up to the sink level while he would help me wash the rice, i.e. rinse a couple of times and make sure when he pours the water away, the rice still stay in the pot. I showed him how to use the other hand to block the rice from getting into the sink when rinsing, and guided him to measure enough water for cooking the rice.
Remember, your children will never be too young to be involved. Involve them, have fun, i.e. sing along with them while cooking, play some music while baking cakes… allow them to use their hands to experiment through mixing flour and water, cut out different shapes of cookies, chop up various lengths of vegetables… It does not matter what or how they contribute, but allow them to express themselves through FUN and PLAY.
Oh… don't worry about the mess. They will gladly help you to clean up after the FUN time they shared with you.
Remember, connections are about shared experiences together. Children learn through FUN and PLAY and being interactive with new things in the home… and being with people they trust and love.
Learning starts at home, so make all learning FUN!, because to a child, PLAYing = LEARNing!