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  • Lesli Blevins

Creating + Playing = Learning

I get asked all the time, "What should I be doing with my child at home?" When I became a mom for the first time, I had already been a public school teacher for 12 years! I spent most of my years educating 4th and 5th graders, many years as a literacy coach, and a few years as a school improvement specialist at an alternative high school in Spring Branch. So when I brought home my first tiny baby, I didn't quite know what to do! My experience was with OLDER kids!


Honestly, I made a lot of mistakes! I'm pretty sure I had my little one do some things that weren't very developmentally appropriate! However, that tiny baby turns 10 years old next week and guess what...he's just fine! Despite my lack of early childhood training at the time, no harm was done! So, I share this with you to let you know that you don't have to be an early childhood expert to work at home with your child!


Let me share some SIMPLE things I did with my boys when they were younger!


Create simple, fun experiences for your child!

It's important for children to explore their environments! Kids need to get dirty and be messy! Many parents don't realize they are CREATING fears in their children by telling them NOT to get dirty, NOT to touch things, NOT to climb...it is my personal opinion that kids need to fall and fail! They need to do these things because it teaches them that they will STILL BE OK if they do something wrong!


SHAVING CREAM:

Why I like it: it's cheap and easy to set up! Other things to play with; ice, water beads, and sand.



PAINTING:

Why I like it: It kept my boys entertained for a long time! There are many make-at-home paint recipes on Pinterest that I used for painting on the driveway. I also used to wrap our brick columns with butcher paper and let them paint that as well! Painting encourages creativity, and time to refine fine motor skills. Again, let them get messy! Do it outside so when they spill, it's ok!



In my previous post, I showed you how I set up a work space in our home for the boys. Here are some activities we did in there!


CUTTING:

There are various stages of cutting, but the beginning stage is snipping!


WORKING ON LETTERS and SIGHT WORDS:

While my youngest used his fine motor skills to find, say, and match letters, my oldest was reading, building, and writing sight words. We used plastic letters to stamp sight words and letters in playdough as well.



STAMPS, STICKERS AND DOT MARKERS:

Why I liked it: Again, this was something that worked on fine motor skills and creativity and they could do it independently! Peeling stickers is used often in pre-k classrooms to work on fine motor skills.



CALENDAR TIME:

Calendar time is a fun way to learn numbers and counting! There are also fun 'days of the week' songs to sing!



MAKING BOOKS:

This is such an important topic, I will make an entire post about this one soon!



Just remember, the activities are better when driven by the kids and their interests! If you plan for them to paint...don't tell them what to paint. Let them choose! If you paint and create outside, alot of the times they will find inspiration there! Just a bit of personal advice...our family made the choice to NOT use ipads and devices. When a child is on devices alot, the device does the thinking for them. The trees are already drawn and colored. The people are drawn and colored. If your child has a hard time coming up with his/her own ideas or doesn't know what colors to use to draw a tree...it may be time to take a break from devices. I promise, it IS possible.


Upcoming posts to look forward to: making books, imaginary play, favorite toys

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