I’m using these five guiding principles as my manifesto of how to raise happy kids this year.
UPDATED >>> This article was so popular I’ve turned it into a free Creative Kids Learning Guide. Click here to get your free copy.
Want to know why every mum (and mom) needs Pinterest, and discover some brilliant boards to follow? I have some great picks for you today as I’m taking part in Pinterest’s PinItForwardUK campaign. Read on to discover my top boards for all things kids.
We’ve been chatting over on NurtureStore’s Facebook page recently about free play with loose parts. I know many of you are working to include more and more bits-and-bobs and open-ended resources in your play spaces, and switching from plastic and commercial toys to more natural materials. So today I’m talking about why I love to encourage lots of free play in our home, and I have a super, printable list of loose parts you might like to try out.
Are you spring cleaning and wondering how to organize kids’ craft supplies in your home? Here’s how we organise things in the NurtureStore playroom, so we positively encourage creativity but also keep things neat and tidy and know where everything is.
This post is by special request from Becky at Ar-blog, who wanted to know how I organise our supplies (I think hers might me overflowing!) If you have something you’d like to see here on NurtureStore – a question to ask or an idea you’re looking for – let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with. You can always come and chat over in the NurtureStore Facebook community and send me a message.
A super quick post today but with a super useful list for you.
If you’re often looking for kids activities, wouldn’t it be great to hop into Facebook and see what all your favourite bloggers are sharing, all in one easy to find place – instead of having to trawl through your entire timeline to pick out the ideas in between status updates from your friends, colleagues and that person you vaguely remember from school?
Good news: did you know Facebook now lets you set up special lists of all the Facebook pages you really love, all in one place so they’re easy to find?
Do you give your children pocket money? B, who’s eight, has been asking for months and months now to start having pocket money and so far I’ve managed to put her off, saying I’ll have a think about it. The main reason for dithering is because I’m just not sure how to handle the whole pocket money idea – so I thought I’d ask you. How do you deal with pocket money in your family? Here’s what I’m wondering about – and I’d really love to have your input.
So many questions! Will you help me out? How do you handle pocket money in your family? What works for you and what problems have you encountered?
The A – Z of Kids Play & Learning
A is for…. Active Learning
I once sat in on a pre-school session where the teacher was introducing a group of eight 3-year-olds to the idea of mixing colours. She had two pots of paint, one red and one yellow, and was showing the children how combining the two would make orange. Messy fun, sensory play swirling the colours together, and the magical realisation that they’re created something new by stirring the colours together. Except the children weren’t allowed to touch the paint themselves. They were being asked to sit around a table and watch the teacher having all the fun. What a missed opportunity to let the children do some active learning.
Active learning means learning by doing – by exploring and investigating, being spontaneous and engaging in purposeful play. It’s the way children learn best. They are naturally curious and inquisative, so rather than see our job as giving children information we can look for ways to help them learn and discover for themselves. No hot-housing, no flash cards, no sitting still and being taught, but rather using their everyday experiences to learn: at the breakfast table, in the bath, in the garden, on the way to play group. By letting children persue their interests with our support, they gain a positive attitude to learning. They enjoy learning, they gain confidence and independence and they aquire new skills.
Here are three ideas you could use this week to support your children in their active learning:
1. Materials: Can you provide some materials, toys or objects which are ‘open-ended’ so you child can use them in a variety of different ways in their play? How will you child play with some wooden blocks, yoghurt pots, fir cones or shells? Let them use their creativity and see where their imagination takes them.
2. Freedom: Can you let your children choose how to play this week? Are they able to access different toys / materials to include in their play — perhaps by having it on low, open shelving or in toy boxes, so they can include different objects in their games? Can they have ‘permission’ to play their way, taking toys in to the garden, using jigsaw pieces as food in their ‘cooking’ or wearing a tambourine as a hat? Can they spend the whole morning rolling a ball down a slide (and experimenting with gravity and rotation as they play?)
3. Support: Can you play along with them and talk to them about what they’re doing? Can you help them solve problems when they meet an obstacle to their play? Can you plan another opportunity for them to explore their interests further?
As an example of active learning, taking a child’s interest and supporting it to provide more fun and learning you might like to have a look at our ‘Ducks’ post.
What could you play this week?