Ideas for Creatively Teaching Children
As any parent knows, children learn constantly, whether they are in school, out and about, or at home. Parents and teachers alike can help children learn more effectively by considering most moments to be teachable experiences. Here are some ways to accomplish that.
Open Your Eyes
The natural world around you is brimming with things to touch, taste, smell, see and feel. Paying only a bit more attention to the environment you are in at any given time can bring many teachable moments. The Montessori sensitive periods idea says that at different stages of development, a child will be ready to learn different kinds of information or skills. Because of this, it’s best to start early – when your toddler is just beginning to get curious about their world, show them the magic of a blade of grass or the pretty cardinal on the birdbath. When they’re a bit older, point out the colors in the sunset, and the differences between leaves of trees. Take them to animal exhibits and let them touch a snake and a pony. You will be surprised how much this will encourage your child’s natural instincts to learn.
Take the time to think a bit differently and plan ahead. Turn off the TV and get your kids an Etch-a-Sketch, an Erector set, or some art supplies and challenge them to draw or make something special, without your help. Encourage their imagination by telling them a story and then asking them to play a role for you with puppets or paper dolls. You can even go thrift-store diving and pick up old costumes, then invite the neighborhood kids over for a costume party that will keep everyone entertained for hours.
Use Found Objects
Some of the best teaching tools are things you pick up around the house or in the park. Kids will play with nearly anything if you are open to letting them. Give your toddler measuring cups and spoons and plop them in a kiddie pool, and they’ll spend hours pouring water just for the fun of it. Give your five or six-year-old a wooden spoon and they can enjoy making beautiful noise on your old pots! A shovel and a cup can make magic with sand, and you can challenge them to build fairy houses with natural objects like bark, sticks, moss and insect wings.
The possibilities for teaching are really limited only to your imagination and ways of seeing the world around you. Be open to new experiences and you will teach your children to do the same.