Lily Morgan asked:
Encouraging learning helps boost children’s development and understanding of the world around them. To do so, parents should provide toys that allow for hours of discovery and exploration, as well as areas where children can practice their newfound skills. There are also ways that parents can set up these areas to be more conductive for children’s needs. Having a pile of stuffed animals or a bucket of an assortment of toys available for play is good, but there are better ways to encourage active playtime and learning at home. Try these ideas to get started:
Providing an assortment of toys that allow children to manipulate materials, such as sand, clay or water, teach youngsters many things. Children can create structures or learn about measuring when they have something to mold, fill, and pour. Put a sandbox or a small wading pool in your backyard and toss in a few cups and spoons. Don’t bother with expensive toys on store shelves, as children tend to explore more with simple tools.
Set up areas where a child can read books. A corner of a bedroom or an area in your living room is the perfect place to place a small rocking chair and a bookshelf with reading material. By choosing furniture scaled down for children, parents will provide a more comfortable arrangement that encourages youngsters to use the area.
Offer toys and items that encourage creativity and freedom of personal expression by providing arts and crafts materials for your child. Most children love painting and drawing, so an art activity desk is a smart purchase for parents looking to provide long-term value and is a good investment. Art activity desks allow your child to paint, draw, or color with all the tools he or she needs at his fingertips.
Storage centers for toys can be both helpful for cleanup time and a great way to teach children about sorting. Structures that have multiple bins or drawers at easy reach are good choices. Storage centers encourage children to learn things such as grouping like items together or counting as they dump out the toys and put them away one by one.
Have different areas set up for different activities. A table and chair set with some crayons and paper can go in one place and a rocking chair with books in another. Arts and crafts might be set up in a different room, and storage bins placed where they’ll be most used and appreciated. Having different “sectors” for learning and play helps your child to stay focused on one thing at a time, which means youngsters will play longer and take the time to process information instead of leaping from toy to toy.
Other things you can do is spend a few minutes with your child for some one-on-one time. You can start your child off in a sorting game or ask your youngster to talk to you about his artwork. Pick up a dinosaur from the bin and talk about the creatures, or choose two puppets and have an impromptu show. Remember that even though parents often wish children would amuse themselves, people of all ages are social creatures. While it’s good to set up areas that encourage learning and play, it’s also important to spend time with your child while he or she explores and discovers.