Lesson:Although I try to do learning activities with my children on a regular basis, there are days that go by when there just isn’t time in the day for structured education time. I find that simple everyday tasks can provide ample opportunity for learning fundamental skills and gaining knowledge in areas that everyone needs to know. From experience I can tell you that a lot of the standardized testing that happens in schools, asks questions about run-of-the-mill ordinary things. A lot of times, children struggle with certain questions just because they haven’t been exposed to everyday life things. Here are some practical ways I try to utilize everyday opportunities to learn, as well as, some ideas for older children:
Brushing teeth: Recently, our youngest daughter has really gotten into brushing her teeth! So I use that time to talk about how many teeth she has now, what happens when she starts loosing teeth and how many teeth she’ll have as an adult. We also talk about why it’s so important to brush your teeth. Now we are getting into flossing and I can make that a learning experience. Something small but she’s learning!
Driving down the street: This is a great way to incorporate learning in a very practical way! I try to point out every sign that I can and talk about what it means. I also try to point out directions we are driving in or turning towards (left, right, north, south, east and west). We also identify the colors of the traffic light and what they mean and every-time I see a number while driving I point it out, whether it’s the speed limit or the price of gas at the gas station. Those are just a few of many learning opportunities that can take place in a car.
Grocery shopping: The grocery store is a great place for practical learning moments! When I used to go grocery shopping with my mom as an adolescent, I had to help her stay on budget. I held the calculator and added the amount of each item she put in the cart. We compared prices and value of what we were buying. A parent could also incorporate nutritional lessons into this experience or build in a cooking prep lesson by taking a recipe and shopping for all the ingredients required to make it. There are lots of possibilities for practical learning while grocery shopping.
Application: Think about your everyday routine and determine if there are some experiences that you could turn into learning moments for your children. Being book smart is great but being knowledgeable about everyday practical life lessons is equally as important and will be with our children for a lifetime!