Archive for April, 2018

Sharing Hands-On Activities with Your Children

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

A Parent’s Guide to Sharing Hands-On Activities with Your ChildrenA Parent’s Guide to Sharing Hands-On Activities with Your Children

To engage your child’s mind, occupy their hands. Most children learn more effectively when they participate in activities, rather than just listening to lectures.

While this has been true for years, it may be even more important today, given the hours children spend sitting passively in front of computers and television screens. Take a look at what you can do as a parent to activate your child’s brain with hands-on activities.

Adapting to Your Child’s Learning Style

Tactile and kinetic learning styles involve touching and movement. These approaches are often ideal for small children because visual and spatial skills start developing earlier than language skills.

  1. Schedule breaks. Small children usually have fairly short attention spans. Rotating between different projects or taking frequent, 5-minute breaks every half hour will make your interactions more pleasant.
  2. Take turns teaching. Let your child teach you occasionally. They’ll benefit from practicing their leadership skills and clarifying their own thinking as they try to give instructions.
  3. Ask questions. Similarly, ask your child to explain what they’re doing and the reasoning behind their choices. As they talk about their actions, they’ll make more mental connections and strengthen their powers of communication.
  4. Introduce props. Mundane tasks become more fun when you use flashcards, graphs, puzzles, and posters. Stack blocks or count clothespins.
  5. Go on a field trip. Travel adds an extra dimension. Give your child personal assignments when you go grocery shopping or take family vacations.
  6. Stand up. Even when you’re staying at home, you can spend more time on your feet. Children may feel more alert standing up or balancing on an exercise ball instead of a regular chair. Walk around while you talk about multiplication tables or verbs.
  7. Observe closely. Pay attention to your child’s interests and strengths. That information will help you to design activities they enjoy.
  8. Cool down. Participatory learning can be very stimulating. Leave time to settle down before dinner or bed.

Examples of Hands-On Activities for Children

There are many ways to encourage your child to move around and use all their senses. Creative play is an opportunity to learn by doing.

  1. Play music. Maybe your child starts dancing and singing as soon as they hear their favorite songs. Background music can also help concentration, while having instruments around the house may inspire your child to start making their own soundtrack.
  2. Stage a performance. Dress up in costumes or put on a play to act out history lessons or social dilemmas. Build a puppet theater out of a cardboard box.
  3. Do arts and crafts. Crafts allow children to express their creativity while they develop their motor skills. Assemble collages out of magazine pictures and art books. Glue popsicle sticks together to make a wagon or jewelry box.
  4. Conduct science experiments. You can play scientist in your kitchen or any room of your house. Amaze your kids by dropping an egg without breaking it. Look up instructions for how to do this classic “trick” online, and then share the secret so your kids can impress their friends.
  5. Take notes. Taking good notes is a valuable habit your kids can continue to use at school or in the workplace. For now, it will help them to focus their attention and remember what they’ve learned. Encourage them to carry around a notebook and pencil, or store their notes on their computer.

Your child will remember the things they do more vividly than the things they just hear or see. Help your sons and daughters to become excited about learning by engaging their hands and minds.

Earth Day ideas for the whole family

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

earth day ideas for a greener family and home

8 Ways to Include Kids in Green Living

In between play dates, making dinner, driving to/from work, last minute kids parties going “green” can feel like a daunting task. We hear you. At Young Explorers Schools we’ve been upcycling and reusing for more than 40 years. Just in time for Earth Day we offer our tips to help your family get started on a greener lifestyle and a few waysto have your young explorers help.

  1. Save water by washing full loads. We know that with young ones around that there’s never a shortage on laundry or dirty dishes, so this one is easy. This handy green tip works for both washing clothes and dishes. Save dirty clothes in a laundry bag or hamper and use that super large setting on your washing machine. The same savings applies to washing dishes. Make sure the dishwasher is full before turning that start dial.
  2. Air-dry your laundry. Consider installing a clothesline in your backyard or basement, or use a freestanding clothes rack that folds up when not in use. Drying your clothes will be 100% green with the air-dry method!
  3. Use glass food storage containers. Plastic is the least “green” food storage container. But, if you look in most kitchens, plastic is the most often used food container. By switching to glass food storage containers, you take a big step toward living a greener lifestyle.
    • Not only does the manufacturing of plastic harm the natural environment, but certain types of plastic are harmful to your families’ health as well.
  4. Install a new shower head. Like tweens with their long showers, older shower heads are notorious water-wasters. Switch your old one for a newer model so you can worry a little less about water usage. A new “green” shower head uses 1 to 3 gallons less water per minute than older models. That’s quite a savings on your wallet, too!
  5. Turn off lights when you leave a room. We know this is a toughy. Turn this into a game with the family, create a song or a mnemonic device to remember to turn off lights. You’d be surprised how many people forget to do this simple action. If no one is in the room, there can’t be a good reason to waste energy to brighten it up! With a simple flip of the light switch, a greener lifestyle is yours.
  6. Think before buying paper products. Sometimes paper plates, cups, or napkins are a necessity. Most of the time, they’re not. Even recycled paper products use energy during the recycling process. Look in your kitchen cabinets and you’ll probably find an assortment of little used china and ceramic plates, mugs, and glasses that could be put to good use.
    • Also, turn every family meal into a special occasion with cloth napkins! Ohh, fancy!
  7. Recycle old tee shirts. Everyone has old tee shirts that are not worthy of donating to Goodwill. Don’t throw them out. Replace your paper towel rack with a stack of tee shirt squares. They’re soft and absorbent and best of all, reusable. Just throw them in the washer and you have an unending supply of cloths for every kind of clean-up chore.
  8. Use an old-fashioned broom and mop. You might think that there’s no way to turn cleaning into something fun yet… One of our friends has their 11 year old ride a hover board while pushing a broom. He loves it! Turn hover board time into clean time and get an eager helper out of the deal.

What kind of ways do you incorporate green living into your home?

Getting your child ready for preschool

Friday, April 6th, 2018

how to prepare your child for preschoolHow do you know if your child is ready for preschool?

At Young Explorers, we encourage families to come in for a tour and take advantage of our free day before enrolling. We can answer any questions parents might have about the process for getting children ready for preschool.

Here are a few ways to prepare your child for preschool:

Encourage your Child to Spend time with Others

Before you can expect your child to play with other children, you must first expose him or her to other playmates. This is the best training to introduce your child to concepts such as sharing and taking turns. Many preschoolers are isolated from other children and this can make integration into the preschool more traumatic. By simply arranging for your child to have play dates with friends, or by enrolling him or her in a social gathering, you can ensure that your child will have the exposure needed to feel confident in a social setting.

Acknowledge Your Child’s Fears

If your child tells you that he or she is fearful about starting preschool be sure to acknowledge their fears and don’t dismiss them. Many times, well-meaning parents shrug off their children’s fears and in turn reply with upbeat and positive replies. However, it is crucial to your child’s emotional development that they express their fears and insecurities and feel that they are acknowledged. To help them overcome their nervousness, try watching a video together that pertains to starting school, or even read a book together that discusses it. Try I am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child. Browse for more titles at your local library or check out the Scholastic recommended reads.

By taking the time to prepare your child, instilling routines or rituals, and planning on more activities for your child that involve other children, you can ensure that your little one will be well prepared when it is time for him or her to start preschool.