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The Portable Classroom May 18, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in People.

Huey,-Dewey-And-LouieFor wee ones, the world is full of wonder ~ fascinating places to go (like the car wash, bank, or dry cleaners) and exciting sights to see (like mud puddles after a rain storm).

As you move through your daily “To Do” list with infants or toddlers in tow, make the most of everyday moments by using the world around you as a portable classroom:

1.  Play games in the car ~ “I See Something,” “I Spy,” or “20 Questions.”  Ask your kids to count to ten, or name colors, or tell you a story.

2.  Sing songs to introduce your infants to sounds and to help your toddlers expand their vocabulary.

3.  In stores, talk to your toddler about items on the shelves.  In the produce aisle.  See how many vegetables or fruits they can identify on their own.  Or ask them how many “red fruits” they’ve tasted (strawberries, cherries, raspberries . . . ).  Then move on to “yellow fruits” (bananas, lemons, papayas . . . ), or “green veggies” (broccoli, spinach, celery, green beans, green peppers . . . ).

4.  Point out signs and read the words out loud.  Play the opposite game.  You say a word and ask them to give you the opposite:  In~Out.  Up~Down.  High~Low.  Kids love to look, listen, and learn.

5.  While cooking dinner, talk about the steps you’re taking and the tools you’re using, and let them ask “why? as often as they want.  Now I’m peeling carrots.  Why?  To get the dirt off.  Why? Because it doesn’t taste good.  Now I’m dicing carrots.  Why?  So that the pieces will cook faster.  Why?  Because I know you’re hungry, silly! 

Paint6.  Practice colors, numbers, and words when they’re getting ready for bed or taking a bath.  Ask them questions about what they did that day.  Listen to their version of the days events.

7.  Create a consistent bedtime ritual ~ bath, PJ’s, teeth, bed, storytime, goodnight hug, lights out.  After each step, ask “What’s next?”

For more ideas on turning everyday moments into fun learning opportunities for you and your kids, visit bornlearning.org:

Everyday life is a learning experience for children. Born Learning is a public engagement campaign that helps parents, grandparents and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities.

Related posts:   Ten FREE Activities To Enjoy With Kids * Ten Almost FREE Activities For Kids * Top Ten BETs * Ten More Fun Activities for Kids


1. cindy - May 18, 2010

Thanks for that. Now then, any advice for dealing with a pre-teen who has a serious princess-complex?

2. nrhatch - May 18, 2010

I’m not sure I know what a “princess-complex” is . . .

Someone who thinks that life is full of magic?
Someone who thinks that life should revolve around them?
Someone who lives in a world of make believe and wonder?
Someone who feels that others should carry their train?

Sorry, I’ve just never heard the terminology before.

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