If you’ve spent any significant time around children, you know they’re inquisitive. (Who knew it was possible to ask “why” six thousand times in one day!?) And while the “why” stage can feel draining at times, your child’s natural inclination toward curiosity and wonder is a really good thing. With a little bit of nurturing and intentionality, you can transform even the most mundane of daily tasks into a fun, learning opportunity.
Here are some very practical ways you can focus on incorporating math, language arts and science into activities you’re already doing each day:
- Snack time. Many snacks including carrot sicks, pretzels, raisins or trail mix can be easily counted or grouped. Take turns coming up with descriptive words to describe how the food looks, feels, sounds or tastes. Throw in a little onomatopoeia and you’ll both end up with the giggles.
- Weather. Depending on where you live, every day could be different! Rain, snow, fog or fluffy clouds create a perfect climate for discussing the forms water can take. Or explain shadows and shade on a particularly sunny day. Rainbows, photosynthesis, wind patterns, you name it. Science really is all around.
- Household tasks. Picking up toys or helping with basic cleaning can be a great opportunity to learn and have fun. Teach younger children to help you sort laundry by color, or match clean socks fresh from the dryer. Older kids often love helping in the kitchen, where measurements and fractions are a very common part of each recipe.
- Rhyming and singing. Making up stories or songs can add fun and creativity to whatever you’re doing. You can even practice rhyming by volleying words back and forth. Cleaning up from dinner? Dish! Fish! Setting out clothes for the next morning? Pants! Ants! Dance!
- TV Time. Believe it or not, even watching an evening television program together can be an active opportunity to learn. Let your child type in the numbers on the remote or read aloud closed captioning and station menus. Mute commercials and use that time to color, practice spelling words or review addition and subtraction.
With just a little bit of intentionality and quick thinking, you can turn any activity into learning - you’ll foster your child’s imagination and engage them in helping. They’ll love the interaction and learn as they go!