Now that the whole country is under lockdown for an indefinite period to prevent the spread of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, all schools and educational institutions have shut down temporarily. During these trying times, the most challenging task for most parents is to come up with ideas to keep their child mentally engaged, as they won’t be going to school for quite some time now.
Fortunately, school is not the only place for your child to learn new lessons and activities. At home, parents are the best teacher a child could have but everything does not necessarily have to feel like a classroom lesson. You can get your kids’ minds racing and encourage them to learn new things every day through fun activities.
Here are 5 ways you can make learning engaging and fun for your kids at home during the lockdown –
1. Start with ‘learning games’
As we believe, learning does not have to be all pen-and-paper. Try board games instead. Educational board games are one of the best ways to enhance your child’s cognitive skills and engage them in conversation. These games are designed to cater to a variety of skills – some focus on grammar and vocabulary while others on simple mathematics and geography while having to use skills, such as critical thinking, memory, communication, and strategy. And the best part is that kids don’t feel the pressure of learning or make a fuss about it because games make it all the more entertaining and fun!
You could try out board games, such as ‘Guess who’, ‘Scrabbles’, and ‘Bingo’ to test their memory and the ability to spell words and count numbers correctly.
2. Teach them the basics of Phonics through pictures
Who knew learning phonics could be so much fun? Pick a few catalogues and magazines and turn them into basic learning tools as your child develops phonic skills. Pick a letter and help them spot objects having the same phonetic sound. Work together with your little one to make cutouts of those and create a customized scrapbook, as you help them identify the letter and the sound it makes. This way, your kid will have a visual of the word and the letter that they are learning. Soon enough, your child can create his/her own alphabet book with pictures.
For example – When you spell out or show them the letter ‘C’, your child will think of the sound ‘Cuh’ and most likely point to objects having the same phonetic sound, say a car. A picture of a car will further help him/her develop these skills.
3. Use crayons to encourage them to write
Teaching your kid how to write does not have to be repetitive. If your child is not a big fan of practising writing, you can always make it more creative and fun by encouraging them to draw alphabets. All you need is paper and a box of colourful crayons. Pick a colour and draw a lower and upper case. Have your kid trace the letter and say it aloud, as they write it down a couple of times.
You can also use this trick to draw shapes and numbers. Have them trace it over and over again using different colours until they memorize it. Easy and fun, eh?
4. Naming and identifying colours
Kids learn to associate various objects with colours at an early stage. However, identifying colours is not as easy as identifying numbers or objects. Colours are abstract and kids tend to get confused between the various shades easily. But here’s what you can do to help your child clear his/her mind and learn to name and identify colours correctly.
Fill up a jar with the names of different objects and colours. Some of the papers can have the names of objects on them while others can have the name of colours. Now, ask your munchkin to pick out a piece of paper from the jar. If it has a colour, ask them to point at 5 objects that are of the same colour. Similarly, if the paper has an object, have them spot 5 objects in different colours and name each of them. This way, your child will not only learn to identify colours but also learn about the objects around them.
5. Engage in ‘Role play’
Kids love to enact their parents and teachers – and you can use this opportunity to have them show you what they have learned so far. Provide them with a chance to play the role of a teacher and teach you whatever they are learning each day. It is only natural that they won’t remember every bit of it, so if you find them struggling to memorize a concept or solve a puzzle, be patient and ask them specific questions about the topic, say for example – ‘How do you solve this?’ or ‘How do you know?’ etc. Alternatively, if your child performs exceptionally well explaining to you all the lessons and concepts accurately, be sure to reward him/her with praises and perhaps a small gift. This will boost their confidence and encourage them to do well in future.
Role play not only encourages children to pretend as others but also imbibe emotional and social skill, like participating in group activities, taking turns, as well as physical skills, such as hand-eye coordination while dressing up.
Quick tips for parents to make learning easy and fun
Need some tips to make learning a fun experience for your munchkin? Keep these points in mind as –
- Incorporate their specific interests
- Participate actively in your child’s learning process
- Create hands-on learning opportunities
- Allow them to use their imagination and be creative
- Give them the freedom to choose what they want to learn
Playful learning suggests that when kids indulge in enjoyable activities that are relevant and meaningful, they are likely to memorize things for longer and simultaneously develop lifelong holistic skills for learning. This typically occurs in an environment where the child is free to take risks, imagine things, and share their experiences with others – and there’s no better place than home to practice all these at once.