So, Thanksgiving 2015 is past and now onto Black Friday (and BTW, Happy and Healthy to all). Many of you are now actively hitting the malls and websites in search of gifts to spread Holiday Cheer, especially to your children.
Here are just a few listings for all kinds of educational toys and videos for you to consider:
Now–guess what? You can largely disregard the above and most resources that you may have uncovered. Where can you find the best educational play tool for your child? Go into your bathroom and look in the mirror: there it is!! Without even trying too hard and actually while enjoying yourself immensely you can teach your child (of all ages!) more than virtually anyone or anything. Indoors or out, whatever you are doing, you can likely make games and play that will help your kids learn. Just a few thoughts (and I’m barely scratching the surface here):
- Outside–I’ve previously discussed: take walks or bicycle rides together, sports, nature (hikes, fishing, birdwatching, playing in the sand or surf at the beach).
- Work/chores–especially younger children will love working with you (older kids and teens–not as much). Cooking and doing simple household repairs–measuring teaches math. Use tools in an age appropriate manner and with caution of course. Sweeping, raking, and picking up can be a parent/child activity. A few thoughts: helps with physical activity/exercize; you can make it a challenge (“who can finish first?”); you might need to repeat your child’s work–but that’s besides the point; remember to reward their efforts.
- Toys and games–remember: keep it simple. Best are things that enable your child to use his imagination. Balls. Building blocks/toys like legos (age appropriate size), tonka toys, Lincoln logs all teach visual/spatial skills. Art objects like crayons, paints, play-doh obviously cultivate creativity. Play with household tools/supplies–a “tea party” is great. Lots of old “tried and true” board games–Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly, Life, Candyland all teach math; Scrabble, Scategories, Pictionary teach vocabulary for older kids. Mousetrap is another building game.
- Driving: “I Spy,” Alphabet challenge (“call out when you see something that starts with A”) teach verbal skills; license plate games teach geography. With older school age children, you can listen to the news, ask if they’ve heard of a story being reported, and seek their thoughts and comments (obviously, choose subject matter with care).
- Play games with your children AND their friends, and their parents also.
Additional thoughts: Play to your child’s interests–the stuff they like. With younger children, gauge their energy level–tired/bored children don’t learn well and are poor playmates (adults too!). It’s good to learn structure and discipline with rules. But be flexible–it’s still a game, not life/death. Flexibility should apply to scheduling. Your child’s leisure time need not be planned to the minute. There is value in lying in the grass and imagining the shapes that can be seen in the clouds. ALWAYS endeavor to play with your child, but that does not mean play with them all day long. Especially as your child grows up, its important for them to learn to grow beyond their immediate family.
I’m sure you can think of lots of things I’ve omitted. For those who really want to read up on the subject you can do so here. Thanks for following.