Overview: To a child, everything they do is a learning experience. You don’t have to search far or spend hours planning to experience learning opportunities with your little ones. Today I’m talking about 10 of our favorite everyday learning opportunities.
Learning is all around us, even as adults, but more so for children. A child is born with an innate need to learn. It’s how babies learn how to lift their head, grasp objects, roll over, and all those fun milestones. They want to learn and have a natural curiosity for the world.
When we foster that natural curiosity, their love of learning grows. But we don’t have to spend hours on Pinterest searching, planning, and preparing for activities.
Learning opportunities are all around us.
Everyday Learning Opportunities
1. Nature Walks
We love being outside, and research has shown that outside learning is the best for children. Nature walks lend themselves to endless learning opportunities. You can simply head outside for a walk or give your child a goal for the walk.
A few goals we have for our walks are:
-look for a__________ (different shapes, letters, colors, etc.)
-signs of the season (bring a bucket to collect things to use in an art project)-
-pick up trash
-use nature to build (make letters, build a fort, build a small world)
2. Search & Find
Car rides can get boring for kids, so why not turn it into a game by searching for different things. You can look for logos which is a pre-reading skill. Traffic signs are perfect for identifying letters, numbers, and shapes.
3. Counting As You Go
Sicily loves to count, but she can only count to 13. There’s a good reason she can only count that high too. We have 13 steps in our house!
I have been counting the steps with Sicily since she was a baby, and once she was able to do the steps herself it added a kinesthetic aspect to the learning.
Now we count a lot more than just our steps. We count how many “pours” when we cook. We count how many steps it takes to get from one place to the next. Having Sicily count her toys as she puts them away has been a huge motivator to get her to clean up after play time.
4. Encouraging Environments
I was having a conversation the other day in a Facebook group about child-led learning, and many of the people were saying that it can’t be done because kids don’t have the ability or motivation to learn.
I disagree with this statement 100%, but I also think that if you are to follow a child-led method you need to start at a young age.
Having an environment that encourages learning is a huge part of the child-led method. When you provide an environment that is conducive to learning about their world and even the academic concepts children will be inspired to learn.
The most important thing you can do with your child in the early years is to read. Reading literally has an endless supply of knowledge for our children.
They can learn any academic concept such as numbers, patterns, and letter sounds through books. Just the simple act of reading teaches children phonics as they listen to you read every word.
But not only does reading help a child read, it also helps them learn about their world. You can learn about any interest from a book, both fiction and non-fiction.
6. Be a Role Model
I think being a role model goes along with having an encouraging environment. If your children don’t see you taking time to learn, read, and write then they will have no interest in it either.
Children need to see us doing all the things we want them to do. Little kids want to be just like the adults in their life. If we are not using our reading skills, writing skills, or any other important skills in front of them, then it’s hard for them to understand why it’s important to learn those things.
You need to show them these skills in everyday life. Let them see you reading your own materials, writing a grocery list, and doing math to pay bills.
7. Experience the World
Just go out and experience the world. Take trips, explore different places, and take a class or two. A simple trip to the park is a learning opportunity. Children learn how to socialize and share at the park. They learn about gravity, depth, speed, and balance on the playground equipment.
Take field tips to different museums and events in your area. It’s almost Easter, so we are heading to our local Peep Show where people in our community turn Marshmallow Peeps into art. Sicily will learn about creativity and different art mediums. I’m sure she will have practice with counting, color identification, and letter identification as we explore the different art pieces.
8. Kids in the Kitchen
Getting your kids in the kitchen is a wonderful learning experience. Children are learning pre-reading skills by reading labels on ingredients. They are learning that reading is important to follow a recipe.
There are endless amounts of math skills to be learned in the kitchen such as counting, measuring, adding, and dividing. Not to mention science skills when you turn one thing into another, the baking process, and chemical reactions. Teaching children how to cook gives them practical life skills, self-help skills, and skills to take care of others.
Sicily has had chores ever since she could walk. She is responsible for throwing her diapers away, setting her table, taking her dishes to the kitchen, and putting away her own dishes.
Chores also lend themselves to everyday learning. Kids can learn how to sort with laundry. They can learn colors, shapes, and counting with putting the dishes away. And not to mention all the practical life skills and responsibility that is learned through chores.
I saved the best for last. There is no better way to learn than through play. When you provide your child with an encouraging environment, unlimited time, and a safe place to explore, the learning opportunities are endless.
Everyday learning is all around us, and you don’t really have to look that far to find a learning opportunity for your child.