When it comes to our children’s learning, the biggest untapped source of knowledge is us, parents. As parents, we have the most influence on our children’s lives. Even more than teachers.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time to have an impact. Ten minutes a day is all it takes. Turn it into a game, and you can create a memorable learning moment for you and your child to share.
1. Play with food
Involve your kids in cooking. Children love helping and measuring ingredients is the perfect task. Baking cookies requires you to measure lots of ingredients, but you can also try something simple like measuring cereal and milk at breakfast. Ask your child to measure and pour 1 cup of orange juice and ask them which is more, ½ or 1 cup. Use different size glasses to your child understand volume. The opportunities for learning are endless.
2. Tip the scales
Dig out a scale and have your kids put it to work. Ask them to guess how much things weigh and see if they’re right. Agree on a certain weight, say 10 kg, and have them put objects on the scale until they reach that weight.
3. Go shopping
If you have to bring your kids along for a trip to the grocery store, put them to work. Can they determine how much money to give the cashier when buying small items? How much change should you receive? Help your child estimate the amounts. Estimation is an often overlooked, but essesential life skill. Think of how many times you use estimation in a single day? What time to wake up? What time to leave? How long will it take to travel there?
4. Are we there yet?
We like to turn even the shortest of trips into a game, and help make longer trips go faster. Can your child read the speed limit signs? Can they read the speed on the speedometer? You can also talk about the different shapes of various signs or read the odometer at the beginning and end of the trip to calculate driving distance. How far is grandma’s house? How far is school? Your favorite restaurant? You could also use a GPS map service to take the games to the next level.
5. Sort laundry
Besides helping with the housework, sorting laundry is a great way to help your child understand grouping and organizing. As your child makes separate piles for whites and darks, talk to them about which pile is bigger. Can they guess how many items are in each pile? Older children dan even dial in the timer on the machine.