I mused through my childhood vacation days, and I discovered that very tiny things enticed me as a child. I was so happy to get hold of some clay from the next door construction site, team up with cousins at granny’s house to experiment with it.
The mango season where one gets to try their Hawkeye moment of hitting just the mango leaving the window pane unharmed. Learning how to ride a bicycle was the greatest achievement during my pre-teens. And of course, the back to school talk about the warrior scars one gain while learning to ride a bicycle.
The source of knowledge then, was limited to print media and people around us. But nowadays, we have everything at the tip of our fingers. Here we have our young ones whom I would like to address as iGen or Generation Z or the Digitarians who are always hooked onto the internet and are practically born with touch devices. This generation relies heavily on technology to acquire knowledge. They are independent at a very early age, very adept at decoding any unknown terrain first hand and seek help only at challenging situation. Thanks to our children here, a revolution is happening in the way one acquires knowledge. Now comes the big question: “What can I do in order to provide an enriched environment for my child? “
Things to have in mind
Children are hungry for knowledge and they rather learn than eat. So provide them the best environment to acquire that knowledge. Environment implies opportunities where they can learn grow and develop different skills and in turn learn skills necessary for their life ahead. A summer camp that aims at providing a variety of activities for children is a good start for summer. But then, how can I engage them a home?
We shall first have a look on children aged 0 to 3 yrs
From the moment the child is born, the mother does her best to get to know more about her child. And Mothers have known more about babies than anyone else since the world began. Am sure you all would agree with me that your instincts about your child have mostly been right. So 1st, trust your instinct on what you can teach your child.
The Human brain grows explosively until 6 years of age and this rate of growth is not even. If we observe closely, we can see that the baby is actually born with a large head in comparison to the body. How and what do you feed this growing brain?
These activities have been tried with toddlers at our school. They are cost effective and very engaging.
Key skills developed at this age
- Gross motor skills
- Fine motor skills
- Hand Eye co-ordination
- Attention to detail
- Organizing skills
These activity modules need to be stashed and given one by one so that they do not lose interest. All these activities need to be demonstrated to the children. Allocating a play area would allow them to follow a protocol as well.
- Threading activity – Using Rigatoni pasta, stacking rings (fruit loops, bangles). A plastic thread/ straw mounted on a chapatti dough can be used as a pole to do this threading. Flowers, beads, even “thorans” can be made. Sort them color wise to add a level of fun and detail.
- Pounding Activity – a sturdy unbreakable mortar and pestle to pound roasted Channa dal.
- Sponging activity – a sponge and 2 wide mouthed containers with water to transfer and play
- Sorting activity – have a couple of bowls and the following combinations can be given to sort rajama & chole, roasted Channa dal & puffed rice, different coloured objects like buttons, cloth clips, pencils: Shape sorting.
- Transferring activity – using spoons/ tongs. Have a dozen of small balls that can be used.
- Rolling and making balls out of paper.
- Rolling and rolling a mat.
- Making balls/ shapes using play dough/ chapatis dough.
- Coloring with crayons/ chalk.
- Reading simple books to them.
- Naming every object possible in order to develop their vocabulary.
- Giving them a simple Lock & a Key would have them busy for at least 15 mins
Apart from these, you may take the child’s help in arranging vessels, putting the clothes in the washing machine, sweeping using a broom, wiping utensils, placing plates & cutlery on the table, enlist them in folding little clothes and even simple chores like opening doors and arranging footwear.
All we need a tiny bit more patience to wait for them to do their work, they would amaze us with their new found skills and their joy in doing them would astound us. I have just given a bird’s eye view what can be done. Always remember children possess immense potential to learn effortlessly. So utilize every prop as a learning tool. Unwind your creative spirits and view the world through your child’s eye for a very fascinating journey ahead.