With a little bit of imagination, our homebased educators have been turning ordinary things around their home into engaging learning activities for children.
We spoke to some of our creative homebased educators around Auckland on what their favourite activities are with children in their care.
1. Infant playmat fun. Watch this video
and see how our creative educator added shapes and textures on a playmat providing hours of fun for an infant. Babies heavily rely on their sense of touch to explore and understand the world around them. It also helps them develop motor skills as they grab objects.
2. House chores. There is a lot of learning happening when your child helps fold the washing, sweeps the floor or wipes the dishes. These are essential life skills and the sooner your child learns them, the better it is for them. Bonus, kids have a lot of fun doing these despite it being frustrating that they cannot do it properly. Through such chores children learn relationship skills such as communication and negotiation. It also builds their confidence and helps them feel responsible and competent.
3. Caring for pets and animals around the house helps children understand the natural world and ecology. It supports the development of empathy and responsibility while reducing stress and anxiety. It is not uncommon for children to share their innermost feelings with pets and animals.
4. Visiting local parks and the community. This is great to help children understand the world around them and become more confident in social situations.
5. Using real household items to help with the development and mental stimulation of children. Exploring household items brings a different learning for different age groups. For infants, they learn to grasp different shapes and touch objects with different textures. It stimulates their curiosity. Or toddlers, touching real household items of various shapes and sizes encourages imagination and problem solving. They play hide and seek with these objects and arranging them in certain order and classifying them. This helps them think, reason and become better problem solvers. The imagination is extended for preschoolers who can use a broom to create a telescope and build towers out of Tupperware. All that learning from items around the house – extraordinary!
6. Exploring nature by stepping outside the house and into the garden helping their educators with gardening. It helps the children get closer to nature, getting motivated and inspired as they see the fruits of their results – be it removing weeds or planting and seeing the seed germinate into a sapling.
7. Baking and cooking activities are packed with opportunities to develop fine motor skills. Children strengthen their fingers and develop coordination and control as they learn to peel, dice, stir, spread, break and slice. It also encourages them to try more foods.
8. Counting and sorting with objects around the house helps children prepare for school – a great way to transition into literacy and numeracy learning for schools.
To encourage imaginative play at home, parents and educators only have to look around the house to keep little ones entertained and learning. The opportunities are endless.