Six Super Saving Educational Activities for Kids and Families
By Maxine Sprague
Teaching kids how to learn will go a long way in helping them be more
successful in school. With all the educational materials marketed to parents,
one would think it takes a sizeable budget to teach kids the skills they need to
succeed in today's electronic world. This is simply not true. Basic skills
required for learning are the same as they have always been.
Children need to
have inquiring minds that propel them to find out about the world around them.
They need basic decoding skills that will help them learn to read and an
understanding of fundamental concepts that will help them become proficient at
Math. There are many easy and inexpensive activities you can do with your
children that will help them become keen learners. Try some of the following and
reap the spin-off rewards of spending time with your children.
1. Read, read and read some more. Kids learn from your example,
so make reading a part of their lives from birth and beyond. You
will probably want to buy some new books for your child's collection
but there are also lots of inexpensive ways to get your hands on
books. Garage sales, secondhand stores, clear out sales, friends and
relatives, and the local library are some resources you can tap
2. Experiences teach children a bundle about their world. If you
live in the city, schedule a trip to a friend or relative's farm.
Don't know anyone. Ask around and let your friend's know you want to
visit a farm and there will be someone who knows someone who will
help you out. If you live in the country, take a trip to the city
for no other reason than to explore with your child. Visit high
rises and ride the elevators, stop by repair shops such as shoe and
bicycle stores to see how things are fixed. Some larger cities have
underground tunnels that allow you to visit many places in the city
center while remaining indoors. Other places to visit include the
airport, fire station, ferry dock, farmer's market, television
studio, garden center, and pet stores. Pack a fun bag lunch and
you're sure to have a great day.
3. Stock up on inexpensive craft items. Keep a box handy to
throw in items such as tin cans, cardboard, used ribbon and wrapping
paper, old jewelry, sewing supplies, Styrofoam, wallpaper and
whatever else you might have. Buy craft items such as googly eyes,
sparkle glue, beads, felt and craft foam when they are on sale.
These items will inspire creativity in your child for some great
homemade fun. Borrow craft books from the library and make
inexpensive gifts for friends.
4. Make some homemade play dough by mixing 1/2 C. Salt, 1 C.
Flour, 2 tsp. Cream of Tartar, 1 T. Oil and 1 C. of Water plus a
couple drops of food coloring. Stir and cook over low heat until it
turns rubbery. Knead. Roll out long snakes of dough and use to shape
letters of the alphabet and numbers for beginning learners. Make
cookie cutter cutouts and use to solve number sentences. For
example: Tracy had 5 stars. Her teacher gave her 3 more stars. How
many stars does she have in all? Make game pieces for games like Tic-Tac-Toe. Try making play dough dice to use with other games. Let
their imaginations be your guide.
5. Save containers from food products and help your child set
up a store with a toy cash register. Cardboard apple boxes from the
grocery store make great shelves. Use money to teach them how to buy
items and make change. A shopping cart and grocery bags add to the
6. Get together with other parents and plan an educational play day.
Each family is responsible for providing one educational game or
activity. Make a station for each activity so the children can
rotate and try each one. Use simple math, spelling, vocabulary and
language games. You could set up stations involving measuring using
sand or dry cereal. Don't forget puzzles, blocks and water play
areas as well. This is a great way to share ideas while having fun
and learning together with others.
Do you want to
know about smart toys?
Sprague, BEd is a parent, author, and educator and lives in
Edmonton, Alberta. She is the author of 3 books including her
latest, Super Easy Bag Lunches - Recipes and Hundreds of Other Happy
Baggin' It Ideas. (The Learning Center Press)