Mix Play and Learn­ing

Parents (USA) - - Ages + Stages - By MICHELLE CROUCH

Go be­yond the ba­sics.

The most ed­u­ca­tional toys are usu­ally the sim­plest, like cars, dolls, and Le­gos. Make up your own game to play us­ing the tiny bricks by writ­ing “chal­lenges” on slips of pa­per (an­i­mal, fa­vorite food, cloth­ing item) and then have your child choose one to cre­ate. Build­ing any­thing with Le­gos en­hances your child’s spa­tial and fine mo­tor skills, and cor­rect­ing mis­takes en­gages sci­en­tific think­ing, rea­son­ing, and prob­lem solv­ing. Give him en­gi­neer­ing chal­lenges too: How wide can you make a bridge? Can you build a tower that will hold a golf ball?

Get creative with word games.

If your child loves cars or trains, use them to prac­tice read­ing and writ­ing. With side­walk chalk or mask­ing tape, make roads in the shape of let­ters your child is strug­gling with. You can also cre­ate park­ing lots on big sheets of pa­per, la­bel each spot with a let­ter, a num­ber, or a word, and then make a game of it: Call out the la­bel and have your child zoom a car into that spot. This also helps your child rec­og­nize some sight words like stop and go.

In­vite pre­tend friends.

Chances are, your kid al­ready plays with dolls, stuffed an­i­mals, or ac­tion fig­ures. To stretch her imag­i­na­tion fur­ther, try in­tro­duc­ing a new el­e­ment to her story by ask­ing, “What would hap­pen if … ?” En­cour­age her to be as zany as pos­si­ble: What would hap­pen if her teddy bear couldn’t fall asleep? You can also cre­ate a game by putting char­ac­ters in one bin and ob­jects (like sun­glasses or a ba­nana) in a sec­ond one. Have your child pick two char­ac­ters and two ob­jects and cre­ate an ad­ven­ture that in­cludes all of them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.