Young children learn best as nature intended – through play and exploration. Here at Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare we can guide that natural learning process in a safe in inclusive setting. We have state-of-the-art play areas, learning rooms specially designed for each age group, and all the resources that our qualified educators need to make learning fun.
However, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop at home. For our little ones there are learning opportunities in just about everything, as long as it’s safe and supervised.
In fact, with a few educational tweaks it’s very easy indeed to turn most simple games and activities into a treasure trove of learning fun!
Here are a few of our favourites:
A Teddy Bear’s Tea Party
This old but brilliant role playing game can teach your little learner a whole wealth of different skills.
Start by deciding who’s invited! This is a perfect chance to sort toys in terms of their colour or size, or count the guests as they are seated around the tea set. Older children can even make a guest list and tick off names as each one ‘arrives’.
If you don’t have a tea set you can use Tupperware containers or paper cups and if you can play outside, or on a blanket, then let the host fill the teapot with a little water to carefully pour drinks for their guests. This is great for fine motor skills.
And don’t forget, taking their friends ‘home’ to the toy box and saying goodbye is good for verbal communication and caring for friends. The lessons in this simple little game are endless.
Don’t forget to join in.
Rock or Shell Painting
This is a great activity because it is an ongoing project and covers so many aspects of learning.
To start with you can go on an outdoor adventure to find your special rocks (or shells if you’re near the beach). Together you can discuss their shapes, sizes and colours as you collect them, talk about the surrounding nature, or count as you collect.
You can have fun talking about how you are going to decorate your rocks and when you’re ready, using some child-safe paints, decorate your favourite stones together. This opens a world of opportunity for talking about colours and getting creative.
Now your child can start a collection, use them as paperweights, or even give them away as special personalised gifts.
Whether it’s a shop bought puppet or an odd sock with googly eyes stuck to it, puppeteering is awesome fun. You can either have a puppet each and put on a show, or just have conversational fun putting on silly voices and making up their backstories.
Otherwise take turns (or you can operate the puppet if your child is too young). You will often find that as soon as you have the puppet, your child will interact with the character rather than you. This allows fantastic opportunities to talk to your child in a fun and non-judgmental way.
Make up scenarios or ask silly questions, all of this is great for communication and language skills, not to mention the motor skills your child will use to operate their puppet.
Whatever activity you choose make sure you have fun and always supervise arts and crafts, or activities with small parts.