The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

FUN… Learning at Home

There  are many things parents can do at home that not  only
will  make their children more successful at school but will also
make  learning fun.   The best activities are those which involve
children  actively  rather than passively with pencil  and  paper
tasks.

For the very young child, the parent and child can name the
objects in the room together.   The parent can then ask the child
to  bring  the  objects to him or her.   The parent  can  make  a
scrapbook of common objects for the child to name.  The child can
rhyme  nonsense words. For example, what sounds like “lunny”?   A
parent can help a child learn two step directions, then  increase
them  to three and four steps.  A parent can say  nursery  rhymes
and  put them on a tape so that the child can play them over  and
over.  Playing rhyming games with the child helps.  For  example,
What two words sound alike: tan, ten, bag, man.  Activities  such
as these prepare the child to learn to read.

It  also  helps  if parents read aloud  to  their  children.
Current  research shows that children who were read to  only  ten
minutes  four  times  a  week reached higher  levels  of  reading
achievement  than  children  who were not read  to  at  all.   If
parents  can  spare  more time,  the  children  do  even  better.
Children  should  be encouraged to talk about the story  and  ask
questions.

When  parents read aloud to their child they should ask  the
child warm-up questions before beginning the book.  It also helps
to  ask a variety of questions during the reading:   What do  you
think  will happen next?   How do you think the little boy feels?
Could  the  little boy in the story have done something  else  to
solve  his  problem?  How do you know the story  takes  place  in
winter?  Do you remember what the little boy was wearing?   Which
person  in the story did you like best?  Parents could  also  add
their own ideas about the story and what they liked about it.  Do
not put pressure on the child to read but make the time  together pleasant

In  the  area  of  math  development  there  are  many   fun
activities  parents  can do with their children.  The  child  can
help  set the table, counting the knives and forks  and  matching
them to each person’s place at the table.  Making a cake helps  a
child  learn  math concepts.  Playing a game like Bingo  helps  a
child recognize the numbers.  Games are wonderful ways for the child to learn                              and the family to have fun.  Simple Simon is an old time favorite.  Jigsaw
puzzles of all levels of difficulty are very helpful.   Stringing
different size buttons is fun as is lacing pictures with  colored
yarn.   Playing  with  marbles and jump roping  are  helpful  for
coordination.    The   game  of  Pick-Up-Sticks   helps   develop
eye-hand  coordination.   Bean bags and targets as well  as  ring
toss games help with coordination too.

There  are  many games to play while traveling in  the  car.                                                                One  is  called Alphabet Hunt.  This involves  finding  words  on
signs  that begin with letters of the alphabet in  order.   Young
children can have a copy of the alphabet in front of them to help                                                     them remember which letter comes next.  It is always fun to  make
up a story.  One person begins the story and the next person adds
to  the  plot.  Singing is also a pleasant activity  which  helps
children learn.

I encourage parents to help their children become  life-long
learners by providing them with pleasant learning experiences and
activities which prepare them to take the next step and meet with
success.

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