With Christmas fast approaching deciding what to get our kids can be a daunting task! We spoke to Troy at Educational Experience, to find out how families can make Christmas not only magical, but educational too!
A question we are increasingly hearing at Christmas time is: how will this help my child? What’s the educational value?
Has Christmas now turned to a time when we ask grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles, to seek out educational toys that will help children with handwriting or reading or maths or problem solving or creative thinking or with understanding their world?
One of the foundations of learning is that new skills or knowledge need to be applied in new contexts to show the true level of someone’s learning. This idea means that for many parents time at home is more than completing homework, instead homes become hotbeds of learning, where children test out theories and ideas explored at preschool or school. This is a uniquely positive evolution of education and learning. When children show their skills in a new context beyond the centre or school they are demonstrating higher order thinking. A child experimenting with skills or knowledge learnt at school is a child showing that they value learning.
Christmas can be a time of bombardment; there’s toys, there’s noise, there’s new games, there’s the latest bright and noisy fad. But it doesn’t have to be. Whether children are heading to preschool, preparing for kindergarten or interested in science and technology, Christmas can mean we build our educational resources to help children. It is easy to see this as the ideal time for parents to support a child’s interests, whilst all the time having fun doing so.
Ask your educators or teachers what themes or concepts they are exploring in the months leading up to Christmas. You might find they are researching different countries or involved in a maths project. Parents can reinforce these in the home with educational games, tools and toys.
At Educational Experience, one of our team’s favourite play learning activities is to have children set up a shop. The children can decide on the name, the logo, the uniform; a real project that will help with creative and critical thinking. Perhaps, they may have old toys to ‘sell’ or art masterpiece works from preschool. They can design the signs, build the shop, displaying their art works or old toys. They can make the brochures. They can improve their verbal communication skills by practising how they will meet and greet their ‘customers’. They might even expand into a café; selling fruit and homemade sandwiches. Plus using the money wallet and Australian plastic coins (both from our Fundraising range) parents can introduce financial literacy skills to children; while reinforcing numeracy. The confidence they will gain from working together, learning how to make sandwiches and greeting their ‘customers’ (grandparents will love being the centre of attention!) will make this play learning experience a memorable one.
So why not this Christmas try finding something new for underneath the Christmas tree, that not only your whole family will have a great time playing with, but that will help your child develop new skills, discover new ideas and learn something completely new!