Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Loving to Learn

I have a confession to share with you today.

I LOVE providing learning opportunities for my kids.

I love teaching them new things.

You'll find us at the grocery store together, eating out, going to museums, story times and kid classes.  Olive is learning how to get herself ready in the morning, check herself into things like swimming lessons or ordering her own food at a restaurant.  Fletcher is learning how to walk in stores, how to follow directions and put on his own shoes.

We play outside.
We make bird feeders.
We garden and grow.
We bake.
We set the table.
We cook dinner.
We do laundry.
We clean up after ourselves.
We deliver treats to our neighbors.
We write thank you notes.
We watch TV.
We read.
We go to the library.
We go out to eat.
We craft.
We play with playdoh.
We go to church.
We do yoga.
We play at the children's museum.
We go to dance class, swimming lessons and science class.
We go on road trips.
We watch sports.
We play sports.
We make plans with friends.
We try hard to be good friends.
We enjoy the sunshine.
We explore new parks.

But, I DO NOT LOVE making them to do loads of educational activities, workbooks or learn advanced skills for their ages.

We don't drill flash cards, practice handwriting or work on memorizing math facts every day.  I'm a teacher, but I don't force things like sight words, early reading or being able to do all the things early.  I figure that kids grow up fast enough.  There's plenty of time for that kind of learning and checking things off when the time is right.  I also trust that there are plenty of school things going on during the days when Olive is at PreK. 

We don't stress about learning a checklist of things or worry about being ahead or behind for their ages.  I try hard to follow cues from both kids.  If she asks about telling time or how something works we learn about it.  If she's curious about an animal or a season, we google it.  We read her magazines and learn things together.  If Fletcher dumps his toys, we work together to learn how to put them back or if he is interested in a bat & ball, we teach him how to swing a baseball bat.

It's tricky because I'll see people showcasing their kids skills to do A, B and C and that'll make me question why we aren't doing A, B and C.  But, ultimately, my kids are still little and I want them to LOVE learning and LOVE trying new things instead of being super focused or stressed about memorizing things.  Does that make sense??

There's nothing wrong with teaching your kids things as long as it's enjoyable.

I don't think working with little kids should be stressful or cause tears.

Our learning goals are to raise kids who love to learn and are life long learners.

Here are a few things we've done recently that my kids LOVED:

1. Eating on Educational Place Mats.
Melissa and Doug can do no wrong in my book.  Their toys are amazing.  I just knew we had to have these place mats when I saw them.  We have numbers, letters, firetrucks and basic addition.  They're so fun to look over and learn from during our meals.  We also have US Maps, more letters, shapes, etc.  This is such an easy way to learn while you eat.

Melissa & Doug Place Mats --> 
Melissa & Doug Alphabet and Numbers Placemats (Set of 3 Double-Sided Mats) With 5 Wipe-Off Crayons

2. Children's Museum.  We love the free science classes our museum offers.

3. Kid Magazines.
My kids have subscriptions to Ranger Rick, Highlights, National Geographic for kids thanks to generous grandparents gifts.  Both kids get very excited when their magazines arrive.  We read them over and over again.  I'd highly recommend these magazines.  They are interesting for an almost 5 and 2 year old to flip through independently and there's tons to read and learn about when they're partner reading with an adult.

Olive read about making your own pine cone bird feeders in her latest magazine.  She gave me a list of supplies she needed minus the pine cones she could collect herself in the backyard.  I got everything she asked for and then we worked on it together one afternoon.

4. Assembling puzzles with 12-36 pieces

Melissa & Doug 4 in 1 puzzle sets --> 
Melissa & Doug Pets 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles in a Storage Box (48 pcs)

5. Imaginative play with farm animals, dinosaurs, cars, etc.

Everything you do with your kids is a learning opportunity!!  Use everything around you to teach them.  Enjoy being your child's first teacher!

What's your learning philosophy with your kids??

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  1. I just love this post and everything you do to keep your kids engaged and having fun at the same time. It brings back memories of many things I did with mine when they were little - trips to the zoo, museums, library, etc. We enjoyed all the magazines you mentioned. Our library actually had magazines you could check out. I highly recommend Cricket magazines in addition to the great ones you listed. They have something for every age and interest. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

  2. The comparison game to other moms and kids is never fun. Unfortunately I don’t think that ends anytime soon. You are such a great mom and teacher! Your kids are so blessed to have you, for all the educational things you do as well as not putting any unneeded pressure on them.

  3. I think that you are providing your kids with learning as well as the memories that they will remember without forcing them to learn and memorize. I remember getting Highlights in the mail. So much fun to look at. Keep it up! They will remember these fun trips and activities for a long time.

  4. I work with children at church and love all of your ideas! I’m sure they’d love all the activities.


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