Children learn from their family – what you do, how you speak to each other and how you treat others all influences your child’s attitude towards learning. You can build children’s confidence by being optimistic about learning yourself and teaching them to have a positive attitude.
Making learning part of your everyday life, rather than something that just happens at school can help children learn the value of working hard.
As well as getting outdoors together and having fun playing with mud, here are a few other examples of what they can learn:
For plants to grow, they need to be cared for with regular watering and getting the right amount of sunlight and warmth. Without proper care, the plants will die.
Try growing vegetables. Being able to eat what they’ve grown not only gives children confidence in their skills, it directly rewards their hard work and effort. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about good nutrition, Shireen Jayyusi from The Food Assembly, talks about encouraging children to engage with food.
Gardening is a fun way for children to learn about weather - checking forecasts and finding out how the sun and rain will affect what they’re growing. They'll also learn how plants work and how they effect the environment (and lots more).
Kids love helping out in the kitchen. Whether it’s an afternoon of baking with Granny or helping you by peeling a few spuds for tea, there’s a lot to be learned from cooking:
Cooking brings maths into everyday life. Following a recipe helps kids learn sequences, weighing, measuring, counting, fractions and shapes in a fun and relaxed way.
Recipe books for children have lots of pictures with simple instructions to read and follow. Older kids will extend their vocabulary as they come across new words in more complicated recipes.
You can use food to encourage your kids to learn about other countries as well as trying out new flavours. Pull out an atlas and discover where different dishes come from. Discuss how the climate might affect what’s grown and how that influences cooking.
Helping around the home
Getting the kids involved in household chores teaches them important life skills and benefits the whole family:
Being part of a family makes you part of a team, so everyone has their part to play. Get the kids to delegate jobs (specify that they can't delegate them all to you!) and help each other out if they’re struggling. Then sit back and enjoy the results together when you’ve all finished.
Giving your child responsibility for a specific job like keeping their room tidy, loading the dishwasher or cleaning out the hamster, helps develop their confidence to be more independent as they grow up. And it might help them appreciate just how much you do for them too!
Encourage a good work ethic by setting realistic goals and make your kids responsible for achieving them. If there’s a small incentive involved, you might be surprised how inventive and motivated they can be. And for little ones - never underestimate the power of a sticker!!
You may want to get in and out of the supermarket as quickly as possible, but on those rare occasions when you’re not in a rush, take the kids along and get them involved with age appropriate tasks:
Writing and spelling
Before you head out (or go online), get together to write a shopping list. Ask younger kids to look in the cupboards for jars and packets that are nearly empty and copy down the name of the item. Older children can practise spelling unfamiliar words.
There are lots of maths skills children can practise as you fill up your trolley. While one child keeps a tally using rounding and estimating, another can add prices together using a calculator. They can compare their totals at the end. Get little ones weighing out fruit and vegetables and ask older kids to have a go at calculating discounts and savings.
Task kids with checking food labels for nutritional content like the amount of salt and sugar, then ask them to compare similar products and find the healthiest.
Is learning part of everyday life for your family? We’d love to hear from you.