One of my goals for this year was to make learning last all day long. School “hours” are not as important as giving my children the mindset that learning is an experience; one that happens the moment their little feet hit the ground running till the time their heads hit the pillow at night.
I wanted to teach in a way that my kids felt learning at a desk was just as common as learning on the carpet, kitchen counter, backyard, or on a hike. Taking every little moment and realizing that if I am purposeful, teachable moments can happen anywhere and at anytime.
10 Tips to Encourage Learning All Day
1. Soak up Mealtimes
- They are already sitting, why not teach? My kids are young and active so I have learned to capitalize on moments where they are already content at sitting down. We usually do our Bible stories and memory work around the breakfast table. They are so busy munching away they don’t feel like it is school yet!
- Use mealtime mats. We often review our states, presidents, and countries while the kids are waiting for their lunch. I am prepping food and teaching while they feel like they are just playing a game while they wait.
- If they can reach it and see it, chances are they will use it. Everything that hangs on our walls is at their eye level. Our magnetic letter board, alphabet line, and wall maps are always right in front of them which makes for their curious minds to always find a way to use them. We use a table that is their height so they can kneel, stand, or sit to study and play.
3. Make Technology within Reach.
- Our curriculum is made up of e-books so it has made it easy for our kids to use it in so many ways. We loaded the curriculum onto our laptop, tablet, and an extra computer we have just for the kids. Most of the time they feel like they are playing computer games as they click and swipe through the pages. They will often request time to “play” with their books…. Fine by me!
- There are so many resources out there for apps and computer games that enhance kids learning. We love Starfall and SplashMath for some educational games.
- Whether it’s paper and glue, play dough, or painting, art is the perfect way for kids to express creativity and relate what they are learning. I usually have my kids draw each day something that we talked about and without hesitation they will make pages of maps, animals, people, etc.
- Make different art centers. Our art easel is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s so versatile! We also keep art supplies handy in almost every room that has a table. Sometimes learning is best when messy!
- I love my little book shelves that are actually Ikea spice racks. You can hang them anywhere for kids to easily pick up their favorites to read.
- Make a little reading nook or hideaway that will encourage reading to be fun! We simply put an old crib mattress we weren’t using on the ground and the kids have loved sitting on it to read together.
6. Hang Up Their Work
- When I show my kids how much I love what they do, their pride in their work grows too. When they see their work hung up and proudly displayed, it usually encourages them to want to do more!
7. Go Outside!
- Field trips, play dates, and trips to the park don’t have to be time away from our studies. Learning about tadpoles? Go find some! Getting stuck on a lesson? Fresh air can make all the difference. Never underestimate the things that can be learned through things you didn’t plan on teaching!
8. Use bath times to connect.
- Make bath paint and draw new words. Hang up your mealtime mats on the tub walls and sing songs about what you are learning. Don’t forget to make them extra special once in a while with a glow in the dark bath.
- This is the perfect time to talk about how special God made them and how there is no one else just like them! This is some of the most valuable things you can teach them now.
9. Night and bedtimes are for learning too!
- Darkness makes for some fun learning. Flashlights hunts, star searching, and moonlit walks are some of our favorite times together.
- Stories are the perfect ending to a day. Every night we give the kids each a turn to make up their own story or a song. We’ve had everything from tales of Davy Crocket and the wild bunny rabbit to a fierce pirate traveling from Egypt. Not only is it working their brain creatively but it also lets me know I am on the right track. They are excited about what they are learning!
10. Use what you have to make an impact!
- Look around and see what you already have. We’ve made an old crib mattress into a reading nook, took the side off of a crib to make an art center desk, and wood scraps to make a sensory table. See what you don’t use anymore and find a way to make it a learning machine!
- Use what they already play with and make it count. Train tables, play kitchens, tea sets, cars, Legos, and everything else they get their hands on can be used for learning.
Learning is experiencing life and life happens all day long. What easy steps can you take today to soak it all up and purposefully make each moment count? Be creative, use what you have, cherish the time, and be sneaky- they may not even realize they are “doing” school!