An Outdoor Sensory Learning Activity For Toddlers
From the moment our children are born, they begin to learn from us. We teach them to crawl, to walk, and to talk. As they get older and become increasingly aware of the world around them, they enter the famous “Why?” phase. Why is the sky blue? Why do birds chirp? They begin to explore feelings. “Why is she sad?” We answer their questions, sometimes over and over again. Other times, learning is more purposeful – we teach them songs about the rain, sing ABC’s and 123’s. We remind them of proper grammar and to say “please” and “thank you”, to name a few. As a mom I’ve tried to take advantage of these opportunities to teach.
Toddlers learn best through unstructured teaching, for instance the use of songs and rhymes or discussions around the family dinner table. But one of my favorite ways to teach Maddilyn is through sensory learning.
One of her favorite past times is going on adventures in the wooded area behind our home. Using an old egg carton (preferably cardboard) we paint the slots a variety of colors. Then we set off to fill the slots with corresponding color items we find in nature. Today we found a green leaf, brown dirt, a red flower, and leaves of green, orange and yellow. We could not find anything blue that was tangible but discussed the blue sky and water in the lake.
While there is no doubt that these learning moments are highly beneficial, they are just a precursor the the many learning avenues she will experience in a high-quality preschool setting. The benefits of sending kids off to preschool are innumerable and the reason I am so excited she will be starting the 3 year old preschool program in one short month.
Science has proven that kids who attend a high-quality preschool enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not. Equally as important, kids who attend preschool also are better able to compromise, be respectful and problem solve. They learn to explore, play with their peers and better understand their own sense of self. But like many educational institutes, not all preschools are created equally.
One of the best ways to determine if a preschool is a fit for your child, is to meet with the staff, take a tour and attend open houses. On August 13th, KinderCare Learning Centers across the country will be hosting Open House events featuring the theme “Learning Moments”. (Learning Moments are instances when learning happens away from the chalkboard.) KinderCare focuses on making every moment a teachable one. Families are able to see what their education program looks like, as well as get to know their local KinderCare teachers and staff. You can find a local neighborhood center near you, as well as schedule a tour here.
Plus, from now through October 18, 2013, families who visit a participating KinderCare or Knowledge Beginnings Center and take a tour will be entered to win a scholarship for one calendar year of free tuition for one child. Five lucky families will win! Please refer to the Official Rules, terms and conditions.