This educational activity is brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott.
What better way to chat with children than while their hands are busy crafting? -Amy
It’s easy to forget that time with our kids–even if it’s just sitting next to them as kids are crafting or snacking–can be time well-spent as long as we’re present. As long as we are really, 100% with the child and not texting, chatting on the phone or watching TV.
Talk. Have a conversation with your child. Make observations, share stories about your childhood and your memories, share your dreams.
Kids want to know all about the adults in their lives. They love putting the pieces of the parent-puzzle together; they want to know what life was like when we were kids. They want to know how they are similar–and different–from the people they most love and trust. They also need to hear how you use words to learn about the structure and nuances of language.
Listen. As important as it is for us to talk through experiences with our children, it’s equally important for us to listen during playtime, giving children breaks in our running dialogue so they can interject, add their ideas and engage in conversation with us.
Encourage your child to talk by demonstrating good listening skills: Acknowledge her words, even with just a nod; be patient if she stutters or is slow to form her thoughts; ask questions to help her expand on her thoughts and show that you’re listening.
Learn. As you converse with and listen to your child, learn about the child’s interests, strengths, weaknesses, dreams and fears. Remember them.
Learn about his friends and teachers. Observe what letters he recognizes, words he can read, numbers he can write and the skills that he possesses.
Watch her fingers move, her attention to direction, her use of creativity.
And before you know it, talking, listening and learning will become natural, meaningful time spent together. With a few fun crafts to show for it.
Hang with Amy over at teachmama.com for more cool, super-sneaky ways to throw in some learning in the name of fun or join her at we teach–a forum for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas and grow–no matter the classroom. Or tweet with her (@teachmama), pin with her or chat with her on Facebook!