We had a bird’s eye view of how to engage children aged 0 to 3 in the previous post.
Now let us have a look into the age group of 3- 6 year olds. Let us start with understanding this age group. This is a little broader spectrum of age I’ve chosen to address. So the initial points mentioned below are for 3 yr olds and the ones that follow are for the older children. I emphasize that each child is different and show these signs of development at their own pace. So this is not a mile marker that your child needs to cross. They are just the general milestones.
Children of this age group
- Have a good sense of physical balance -They can climb stair, window grill with ease. They can even cycle.
- Have a developed hand eye co-ordination -Eating is a lot less messier, their skill for coloring is within the borders, these children can open and close the containers.
- Have clarity in communicating .They can speak simple sentences, understand simple reasoning, can retell a story that is narrated often.
- Can play in a group. They are responsive to conversations and also try to please people
- Knows to make choices and to set favourites – in toys, friends.
- Have the capacity to pick up a lot of vocabulary and new concepts.
- Love to imitate their loved ones
- Can use scissors/knife, can knead, pound, stir, wash, strain, mash, pour from one container to another in a well-coordinated fashion.
- Can sometimes write using a pencil.
- Can & expresses a desire to dress up independently
Now we have some idea of what we this age of group of children do. Let’ s see what we can do to have them bubbling up with joy this vacation.
Note: Kindly use your judgement to supervise the children where you deem them fit. Consistency in doing anything or enforcing a habit is the key to learning. Plan your days ahead to minimize stress.
I am going to just explain how the concept of cooking elucidates a world of knowledge for a child.
LET US COOK
All hands in the Kitchen – It’s impossible to separate hands-on cooking activities from physical development for young children. I’ve attempted an explanation of a nearly complete end to end process and their the scope of learning at every step.
- Pot plants that grows fast – coriander, mint, Curry leaves, mustard seeds, greens etc. Also some flowering plants. Start from scratch of procuring the mud, fertilizer, (composter can be got as well t teach about recycling for the fertiliser), seeds, pots. This helps them see the process of growth, their effort to water them consistently (teaches commitment).
- Go shopping with your child. Then take them shopping mostly during the mid-day as shops are relatively less populated this gives more time to spend with your child sans the rush. Select his/ her favourite menu.
- Sit and list down the ingredients in paper at home with their help. Your child will be more than happy to pick the items for you at the shop.
- It is a great time to teach them about the day-to-day vegetables and fruits and condiments. A great way to smell them, in some cases taste them. Tell them that all these can be seen but you get only what is needed. This trains their brain to not throw tantrums asking you to buy something for them.
- You can explain how the weighing machine works.
- Also about how things get packed & why you should Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB)
- Cook with them to help them have the authentic opportunity to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, counting and also to brush up the numbers.
- When you follow a recipe, keep talking to them about how you organize the ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple instructions. Try to use the right vocabulary for utensils and the tools used. ( Can do it bilingualy too)
- Give them some vegetables to wash, flour to knead, vegetables/ cheese to grate, cut, even a chance to roll a chapatti, to stir, drain, strain, may be even items that need to be poured into containers, spices to be pounded /minced etc
- Invite friends for a meal. Then set the table and clean the house with your child’s help.(Sweep, mop, dust, polish, etc) This gives them a sense of responsibility & cleanliness. When you play host with, they learn how to socialize. Talk them through the procedure. Eg: inviting guests inside the house, offering a welcome drink, engaging the guests in a conversation about what is the menu, how they helped in the cooking and cleaning. These develop their language skills and give them immense happiness that you are so proud of him/ her.
- Take their help to rinse vessels, wipe them dry and shelve them as well.
Cooking is a huge activity in itself that can be repeated once a week. Apart from this, I’ve few more suggestions.
- Take your child to the nearest aquarium/ planetarium/ zoo. Try naming what they see. They would surprise you with their ability to acquire new names they learnt during the trip.
- Play games matching pictures to words and articulate questions inspired by their new experiences. Make vegetable/ fruit print art.
- Lay back and watch a movie related to cooking (any activity you have done together). Ratatouille (my personal favourite) and later talk about very little things that come in the movie.
- Building blocks – gives enormous amount of possibilities to create.
- Beading activities to make jewellery.
- Cleaning their wardrobe/ Shoe rack/ utensil rack. Playing Dress up.
- Give them pulses/cheerios/buttons to play the counting game. The traditional mancala game (Pallanguzhi in tamil) improves their finer muscles in the hand, capacity to count, plan etc
- Basic crafts out of waste materials always fascinate and engage them.
- Some basic concepts can be taught too: Floating & sinking, wet & dry, empty & full, clean & dirty.
- Use the Globe to learn geography together.
- Read small books in a variety of topic. If feasible make books. (We shall certainly discuss this topic in detail later)
Well, these are just a few possibilities that I’ve penned. The sky being the limit, enjoy your vacation with your young ones exploiting every opportunity that come your way.