As the summer winds down, the back-to-school season begins. As a little girl, I greeted this time of year with excitement and anticipation. As much as I enjoyed vacation and summertime, I also loved school, and the learning, friends and extracurricular activities that went along with it. And, getting ready for the school year was always fun, too: I loved back-to-school shopping for supplies, new clothes, and books.
To all of us, the new school year represents a new chapter...a new beginning. And, what a perfect opportunity to inspire kids to learn! As you make your back-to-school to-do lists, take a moment to consider what you can do to inspire and motivate your children to learn and grow. No doubt, the school year can be challenging at times, even for the youngest of learners. So, finding creative and fun ways to keep your kids engaged and motivated is important. Some thoughts:
- Create a Fun Learning Environment: Creating a learning environment at home that is fun keeps learning light and playful. Choose playroom decor and art for your kid's rooms that reinforces what they are learning in day-care or school. For instance, if they are learning the alphabet or 123s, consider hanging alphabet art and/or number posters in their room or playroom that are fun and educational. Try to decorate simply and make it easy for your children to house and organize all of their toys and learning tools. Make use of cupboards, boxes, bookshelves, and of course, closets.
- Elective and Diverse Learning "Tools": Sure you may have a list of things you need to buy, mandated by your child's school, but incorporate some wants, as well. When children are given permission to explore and learn the things they are passionate about, they thrive, and stay inspired and motivated to learn. Moreover, providing them with a palette of toys and learning tools will help engage their minds in different ways. If your child is passionate about the stars and space, pick out a new book together on astronomy or space decor for their room. If they are passionate about animals and nature, find several books or toys that help them learn about wildlife and the environment. Or, if they are interested in music, find a few instruments - such as bongos, a xylophone or a recorder - they can enjoy and learn on their own.
- Encourage Curiosity: As simple as it sounds, the simple act of talking with your child and encouraging their curiosity can inspire them to learn. When your child asks questions, take the time to answer them in detail. If your children are really young, talk to them about the things that they see and describe them in detail. Speak to them about how things work and function. Be their personal encyclopedia! And, if you don't know an answer, look it up together on the computer. If your children are older, talk to them about what interests them. Ask them their opinions and involve them in decision making. Talk about their feelings and emotions, and have them walk you through their thought processes around decisions and choices. Take the time to engage them in meaningful dialogue, and let them know that their opinions and decisions have value. All of this will help their curiosity to flourish.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! In the comments below, tell me how you have been able to inspire your children to learn. What is your favorite learning activity to do together? Be as specific as possible, as your experience may help another reader!
As always, thank you so much for reading! And please make sure to share with those you think could benefit from today’s post!