Thinking out of the Box: Creative Learning outside the Classroom
As a parent, you are already aware that children are always learning, not just in the classroom. Children who engage in creative learning activities outside the classroom are more likely to retain what they have learned, and learning at home is a great way to help struggling learners. It’s also ideal for nurturing gifted students who are probably understimulated at school. Read on for some ideas on how to help your child outside of the classroom.
Your Local Library Is a Gold Mine
Libraries are a treasure trove of resources that have vast collections of books and other materials. Many libraries have resources that to appeal to children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers, and there’s always a librarian on hand. While you’re at your local library, ask whether they have Tumblebooks, an online reading program that operates through local libraries, and is a fantastic resource for parents teaching kids who don’t relish reading.
Learn by Doing Chores
You might think them mundane, but daily chores are a source of creative learning for children. A trip to the supermarket is an opportunity for kids to test out their math skills by adding the prices of the items in your cart. Cooking is an exercise in measuring and fractions as well as a vital lesson in what goes into the food we eat. Helping out in the garden is an excellent way to explore plants and insects. Chores also provide a physical outlet for active kids.
Despite the fears parents have about technology addiction, technology is an integral part of every child’s life. The Internet gives curious learners access to answers to all their tricky questions. Teaching your child to find answers to things using credible sources is a valuable lifelong skill. Also take advantage of the many apps out there for parents such as Farfaria, a storybook app. Try an educational tablet for children like the Vtech Innotab, which has educational software and good parental controls.
For math support, consider LearnBop, a highly adaptive online math program for grades 4–12. LearnBop simulates one-to-one learning by providing immediate individualized instruction to the child’s needs. With step-by-step guidance from award-winning experts built into every problem, LearnBop adapts in real time to student interactions and breaks down larger math problems into smaller, more manageable steps. View the website for more details.
Think YouTube is only for watching cat videos? Think again. YouTube is a valuable source of educational videos covering all subjects, from history to physics. As they are usually short and visually stimulating, they are a great way to introduce and generate interest in a new topic. You can use longer videos as a way to encourage more in-depth research. View the video beforehand and prepare a question sheet to encourage active listening skills.
Take a Field Trip
Is there a museum, zoo, or national park in your area? If so, treat your child to field trips. Most of these places have educational materials that turn a visit into a fun educational experience. Science museums often have workshops that offer valuable hands-on experience in a group setting. Research their websites, which often have links to educational material you can download and use.
This post was updated April 1, 2016
Image via Flickr by sirwiseowl