Play is our brain's favourite way of Learning
When I became a mom it was my number one priority to give my little gem the best. As a newborn that’s fairly easy – feed, burp, change, nap – repeat. But as they get older we suddenly realise that the nap times shorten and their need for stimulation increases. They get busier and if not stimulated fussier and eventually naughtier. I learned very early on that I’ll have to find a routine that would work for the both of us – something that will make learning fun, interesting and exciting for my little curious explorer but yet easy to follow for a work at home mom. After tons of research, Pinterest and bugging my teacher mom I finally found something that worked for us and almost a year and a half later still does the trick.Aryan does attend play school now but this routine still allows for some fun learning experiences in the afternoon and some much needed mother and son bonding time.
I decided to follow a new theme every month – our theme is usually based on our Woelwaterboks or Wackybox theme (an educational, subscription box that I will speak about at a later stage) but you could really choose any theme you like. Each day of the week I try to do something new and exciting while still focusing on his fine motor, gross motor, language, and sensory skills. In other words – each day of the week we do something special, but still stick to our monthly theme. We have:
1. Make something Monday - Where we focus on making something fun. It could be anything like an arts and crafts activity, a science activity, or even making our own educational materials like clay or paint. There's only one rule and that is that we have to make it ourselves.
2. Read Something Tuesday - Here we focus on making reading fun. This can be through reading to each other, book scavenger hunts or even just a basic picnic outside. Two things are important here 1. That we read and 2. that it's FUN!
3. Wacky Wednesday - This is probably my favourite day because we get to go out and do something together, be it going for an ice cream or waffle or visiting a play park. This is an awesome opportunity to take your little one to see something fitting to your theme, so for example if your theme is transport you could visit the transport museum.
4. Tasty Thursday - This is definitely Aryan's favourite day of the week. Here the focus is on baking or cooking together. We have made some interesting and yummy little creations - or should I say I have? Aryan usually just eats the ingredients... Anyhow, it is still great fun.
5. Messy Play Friday – A close second favourite of Aryan’s and well it’s exactly what the name suggests a MESSY, sensory play activity for the day and it’s even better when a sibling or family member joins in.
This routine ensures that we never get bored since every day holds a special surprise. It is important to remember that children learn through play and if an activity is not fun, and exciting it most likely won’t grab their attention and they won’t want to do it. This could cause a lot of frustration, not just for your baby and toddler but for you too. You will see that once your baby or toddler has fun, you will too and the opposite is true as well, since sometimes they will need a little encouragement to join in on an activity, and the best way to achieve this is by showing them how much fun they are missing out on.
I will be uploading our activities and projects under the activities bar once a month for you to enjoy. This will include the month’s theme, photos and basic instructions on how to do the activities and what you will need. If you would like to see the activities on a daily basis with a more detailed description and more photos please join our Facebook Page @letterstomywildling since we upload our activities there on a daily basis.
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood – Fred Roger