Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Let Children Learn!

A child immersed in an activity,

Is like a person in meditation,

The child focuses on his activity,

With immense concentration,

All he needs is a calm space,

To discover new pathways,

And have happy learning days!

Children learn best when they have the freedom to discover and explore new pathways, rather than when forced to move on a path that adults think is the only right one for them. 

<p><a href="">Image: chrisroll /</a></p>

Friday, 20 April 2012

Summer Holiday Ideas: Water Activities

Water can be explored in many different ways. Here are a few ideas. As always, let the child go beyond these ideas and do encourage the child's own ideas of exploring water (if any), for that is when the child learns to think, analyse and learn independently. 

  • Pouring- This is most suitable for very young children (2 to 4 years). Fill a tub or a bucket with water. Place an empty bucket with a mug next to it. Show your child how to fill the mug with water from the bucket that is full and pour it into the bucket that is empty. After a quick demonstration, allow her to do it her way and assist only if absolutely necessary.
  • Boat Fun- Make paper boats together and let your child have fun sailing them in the water. 
  • Float and Sink-  Older children can be encouraged to look for objects that can float as well as sink in the water. Let the child look for the objects independently and discover what floats and what sinks. Do keep a gentle watch to ensure inappropriate objects are not used for this activity. You would not want your cell phone or wallet to land in the water! This activity is probably best done outdoors. 
  • Watering Plants- Do you have a garden at home? Or even just a few pots? Why not encourage your child to water the plants everyday? Many children would love doing this! And this is something even very young children can accomplish. This activity would require some adult guidance for young children to know when to stop watering. Explain to your child beforehand that plants need only a certain amount of water because of which she will have to stop watering after a while, unlike the first three activities that have no time limit. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Summer Holiday Ideas: Wheat Flour Fun

The simple wheat flour that is so popular among Indian households can be used to keep children busy and happy. Dough prepared with wheat flour acts as clay- it can be moulded and stretched and is perfectly safe as well! For younger children, all you need to do is knead the dough and leave the child alone to experiment with it. To get your child started on her experiments, you can show her how to make something (ball, shapes etc) with the dough. After this initial step. leave the child alone to explore the dough.

Older children may even be able to knead the dough on their own and would also enjoy rolling out rotis (thin wheat flour bread).

Let the child decide how he wants to experiment with the dough. All he needs is uninterrupted time and the freedom to be creative!

 <p><a href="">Image: digitalart /</a></p>

Monday, 16 April 2012

Learning About Shapes : Shapes Activity

Now that your child is familiar with circles, triangles, squares and rectangles, you can encourage her to create something using all these shapes. A simple one would be a house. You can modify the activity as per different age groups.

3 to 4 Years- Keep a picture of a house ready and highlight the different shapes in the picture. To make it appropriate for young children of this age, make sure it is a big picture with fewer shapes. Point out the squares, rectangles, triangles and circles to your child. Then ask your child to spot and name the shapes independently. Subsequently leave her alone to explore the picture. You can also give her paper, pencil and colours and encourage her to draw a similar house. 

4 to 5 Years- Many children this age can draw a house independently. Tell the child to draw a house that has squares, rectangles, triangles and circles. Ask her to highlight each shape with similar colours. For example, all squares can be coloured red, all rectangles blue etc. 

5 Years & Above- Older children can be given a lot more independence to do this activity. Tell the child that the drawing must include all four shapes but do not tell her what must be drawn. Let her draw whatever she likes, as long as the basic criterion of including all shapes in the drawing is met. You can also give clay to the child and ask her to create something based on shapes with it.

Encourage the child to seek and go beyond this activity. Children have their own ways of exploring different concepts and that is best encouraged.

In case you missed the last three posts on shapes, here are the links.

<p><a href="">Image: m_bartosch /</a></p>

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Learning About Shapes : Rectangles

Here comes the next post on learning about shapes! This one is about rectangles.

  1. Show your child a picture of a rectangle and teach her to name it.
  2. Spot a Rectangle Game- Rectangles are commonly found at home- tables, beds, doormats, windows, doors etc. Play a fun game wherein both you and the child look around and spot everything at home that is rectangular in shape. Make a note of your findings and finally count the number of rectangles that you have at home.
  3. Make Rectangles- Give your child paper that has rectangles of different sizes drawn on it. Let het cut them out with child scissors. Also, give her two paper squares and ask het to place them one next to the other. Notice what happens.
In case you missed the first two posts in this series, here are the links. You can mix and match the ideas described in the three posts on shapes in a way that would suit your child's learning best. 

Friday, 6 April 2012

Summer Holiday Ideas: Garden Craft

This is a simple yet delightful piece of craft that can be accomplished in your garden or backyard. Tell your child to pick up pieces of twigs, leaves and flowers that are lying on the ground. Give your child paper and glue. Let her experiment with sticking them on the paper in her own unique manner. In the picture, twigs have been used to make a tree and house. Flowers have been used to create a garden. After giving your child a brief idea about the activity, leave him alone to do it. Let him decide what he wants to paste and how he wants to paste it.

Have fun filled creative moments in the midst of nature!