Your little ones are naturally curious about the world that surrounds them. They are eager to learn, to think, to apply their sense of logic to everyday lessons in life. Watch how their faces light up when they learn to solve problems, how their reactions change spontaneously from those of serious concentration to glints of satisfaction when they find a creative solution. Kids learn by repetition and are delighted by the surprises they encounter during the course of learning. Whatever tricks they discover, they enjoy returning to it over and over again.
Kids learn while having fun!
Children learn best when they're enjoying themselves. And learning starts at home when they are little, with familiar everyday objects. With each new discovery, your child is advancing to a new level of fun as well as learning. When you introduce toys that offer multiple activities with increasing challenges to your child, he starts to develop and build new skills. Do not be discouraged if these early attempts at mastering a new skill appear shaky at first. They do require plenty of practice from your child, and patience, from you.
Play is important child’s work.
Play, by the way, is not an indulgence. It is an activity that allows much to happen that can have an influence on the child’s developing mind. As children play, they are expressing themselves and also learning to cope with frustrations. Thus, during play, we see exchanges of all sorts of kiddy behaviour. Habits, skills and attitudes can be formed during the course of this interaction that may last a lifetime. Children do not have to be taught how to play. They can imagine and create the simplest of toys with, for example, a matchstick box for a car and arms spread in flight for an airplane. Even though play is important to all of us, it is especially meaningful to children. They are actually hard at work when they play.
Let toys be a source of learning
Exploration is the stimulus for learning. Children who are encouraged at an early age become active explorers and learners throughout their growing years. When your child finds it a struggle to achieve a desired effect with a toy, he realises that there is perhaps a problem to be solved and that he has to practice and acquire the skills necessary to resolve the problem. Such skill development occurs when young children play with their toys. Moments like these encourage imagination that helps fire a child’s creativity.
Your child learns best about things by handling them. The more things are handled, the more your child learns. When your child wonders: ‘What kind of sound will this make when I drop it into the bucket?’ or ‘ How do these funny shapes fit together?’ or ‘My block tower fits better if I put the big blocks on the bottom, doesn’t it?’ – it is a child’s way of working out the answers through play. Playing and interacting with other children is also important for the development of social and communication skills. These are all important for your child’s development all-round.
Play and learn with music
Music is a wonderful tool that parents can use to help stimulate a child’s brain. Do you know that playing classical music to your child can help nurture his lifetime skills, such as mathematical ability and spatial sense? In fact, music also helps refine your child’s listening ability and develop his sense of the nuances in human language. When we introduce children to music, not only are we helping to develop their minds but we are also planting the seeds of a lifelong love.
So how can you make use of this wonderful tool called music? For a start, you can sing to your child and sway to the rhythm with him in your arms. Sing, whenever you like, don’t feel self-conscious; your child won’t know, or care, even if you go off-key. Another way is to always fill your home with music and song. If you play a musical instrument, let your child watch you play; let him handle and explore it too. Alternatively, you can also select toys made especially for children. Experts agree that one’s appreciation for music is best cultivated at an early age.
Learn from everyday activities
Even simple things like going to the neighbourhood store—while it may seem mundane to you—is interesting to your child, especially if you talk about what you are doing and involve your child in the activity. Encourage him to identify the familiar and look for the unexpected, and you would have started him on a daily habit of exploration he will never tire of.
Teach him to communicate on the phone. Get two play phones. Hand him one, you take the other. Start talking by mimicking someone he knows. Talk about the things you did together. Remember to pause so he has a chance to respond. Exaggerate your tone and expressions. Make it fun for the both of you.
Keep on playingFor children, learning revolves around play. It is through play that they discover most about the world around them. The moment you start providing experiences that stimulate your baby’s senses and spark his curiosity, you are stirring an interest in learning that lasts a lifetime. Organise plenty of fun and interesting activities you can do together.