Fall is approaching quickly! I get excited thinking about the crisp air, football, holidays and as always back to school time. Okay..well the air doesn't get so crisp here in Florida at first..but by darn that wont keep me from enjoying it. Along with fall it seems comes a lot more "busy". With the end of the hot lazy summer days comes the beginning of school functions, sports practices, scouts, church choir and so may other commitments.
So now that it is fall you are driving around, helping with homework (and more homework) and somehow are still expected to have dinner prepared. It may seem like there isn't much time for those fun learning activities you were doing with your kiddos over the summer. But there is hope! You may not have as much time to sit down and play math facts games but you can squeeze in some fun learning while you are scurrying around town or in the kitchen.
Below are five ways to squeeze in some learning and family while going about your busy routine! Though they may not be intensive practice, they do have lots of benefits that will help your child in school and in life.
1. Make Lists
I don't know about you, but I make TONS of lists every week. Without them I become lost and overwhelmed with life. You can ask my husband..without a list I am a zombie wandering around our house with wide teary eyes and no sense of direction or productivity...its bad. So you will always see me with a list of some kind in my hand!
We all make at least a few lists from time to time for groceries, shopping or other tasks. When making lists, one easy way to promote learning is to get your kids involved!
Pre-Kindergarten- Have your child help think of things to put on the list..or they can write their own to take to the store with them. After they write the list, ask them what they put on it (warning: it could get fun). This will help your child with their verbal communication skills as well as their knowledge of writing.
Young grades- Your child can help write the shopping or to do list. Don't worry too much about spelling (unless they are spelling words for school) just encourage them to write. This will help them become confident in their writing and show them practical uses for what they are learning in their school writing.
Older grades- Have your child think up and write the list, ask them to figure out a way to categorize it or streamline it in some way while they do it. This will help them with their processing skills as well as fine tune their spelling and handwriting.
2. Make up problems
While in the car, around town, or at home make up math problems for your child that they can do mentally, and let your child do the same for you. You can use your surroundings for inspiration or anything that has happened that day. Don't be afraid to get super silly or to challenge each other!
3. Cook Together
A few times a week have your child assist you in the kitchen. This is a great bonding experience as well as an opportunity for your child to learn SO MUCH while having no idea that they are learning. As always, exercise caution with kiddos in the kitchen and don't give your child a task that you do not think they are ready for.
Pre-Kindergarten- Have your child help you measure ingredients. This will make them aware of the math and science that goes in to measuring. Also, read the recipe out loud and have them watch you or help you follow the instructions. This will help your child to better process verbal instructions, which is a good skill to know for kindergarten!
Young grades- Read the recipe with your child or let them read it to you, depending on their reading level. You can point out sight words or spelling words that they are learning as you go along. Go back and forth between the recipe and the food prep to show them the correspondence between the numbers and action words and what you are doing.
Older grades- Have your child read the recipe to you. Measure the ingredients with your child and let them do some of the prep work if you feel they are ready for it. You can also flip this and read the recipe to your child and have them follow the instructions to measure and prepare ingredients. This will help with following verbal instructions which is a valuable skill!
4. Solve real life problems
We've all solved that problem about the hot dogs and the buns right? It's weird that hot dogs and buns come in different quantities per package and this has proved to be a great math problem for the third grade. The truth is, word problems usually focus on things that could happen in real life. If you start to think about this you might be able to find "word problems" everywhere you go.
Just the other day we were having a group of people over to our house for tacos. While standing in the isle deciding how many taco shells to get..and what combination of boxes (they came in 12 and 18 packs) in order to have just the right amount for our party I literally exclaimed "WE ARE LIVING A WORD PROBLEM!"...but really though..
Try having your child help you decide on things like taco shells or other items that you need for your household. When going to the store you can also tell your child how much money you have and then have them help you decide what items you can get to get closest to the dollar amount without going over. The possibilities are endless..so just play with them!
5. Tell Stories
This is probably my favorite one. I know not everyone does, but I have a tendency to narrate my life..and maybe make it a little more adventurous in my mind narration than it actually is. When riding in the car or doing day to day things with your kiddos, make up a story with them about what you are doing or things that you see. The story could be a stretch on the actual events taking place, or completely made up. Even though it doesn't seem like a whole lot of learning, telling stories helps kid's imaginations, their flexible thinking and many other skills that will help them become better writers.
Try out one of these learning activities with your kiddo as your schedule speeds up and let me know how it goes! Be on the lookout for more ways to learn on the go coming soon!