I’ve started using the word “loll” a lot because it so perfectly describes what my 3-year-old does when he’s “sooooo bored.” He lolls. He’ll throw himself on the floor, drape himself over the couch and only half-heartedly look for something to occupy himself in the hopes that I’ll give up and turn on Paw Patrol. Sometimes kiddos need direction, and the Learning Care Group, recently shared these ideas with us on getting kids busy and active — and the benefits behind each activity. If your kids are lolling around bored, try any of these activities on for size (and learning!).
5 Kids Activities That Are Fun and Boost Learning
1. Just dance. Dancing helps children develop confidence in their bodies, aids their dexterity and elevates their mood. Children at Learning Care Group schools take a Daily Dance Break to change gears, shake things up and get re-energized for learning. Have your family take one at home, any time, just because. Play with themes: dance like a monkey, elephant or monster. Pass along the classics: your kids will love the running man, robot and sprinkler.
Benefits: Builds strength and coordination skills, boosts self-esteem and supports self-expression.
2. Walk with purpose. Strengthen your child’s critical thinking, language and pre-literacy skills while staying active. Hunt for colors, letters or words on signs. Make the destination count, exploring new ways to get to familiar places. Play “I Spy” or sing while you stroll. Notice unusual sights and sounds along the way. Try out some silly steps. Use fitness trackers and challenge the whole family to see who walks the most.
Benefits: Improves concentration, increases alertness and promotes independence.
3. Be handy and DIY. Involving children in home improvement projects empowers them and might even help you finish a job more quickly. Painting is easy and rewarding for children; they immediately see the results of their work and mistakes are easily correctable. A 4-year-old can help build ready-to-assemble furniture, peel wallpaper or tile a backsplash. Be sure tasks are age-appropriate, and that activities are properly supervised.
Benefits: Develops problem-solving skills, builds self-confidence and creates a sense of accomplishment.
4. Chores that don’t bore. Studies show that giving children household chores at an early age has long-term emotional, social and academic benefits. Make tidying rooms into a game. Set a challenge to see how many toys can be put away before the buzzer sounds. Have a clean-up race. Fun tools such as a short-handled broom or hand vacuum make tasks more appealing. Resist the urge to redo what your child has accomplished. Be consistent with your expectations.
Benefits: Strengthens gross motor skills, develops self-respect and promotes independence.
5. Dig it. Gardening teaches children to take care of living things and develops patience. Start with a few seeds or plants that grow quickly, such as sunflowers, beans or peas. Harvesting fall vegetables, digging, watering and weeding all offer great sensory experiences. Your budding botanist will learn to sort, count and compare while observing changes as the garden evolves. When the temperature drops, turn raking and shoveling into a family affair.
Benefits: Sharpens fine motor skills, supports math skills and builds hand-eye coordination.
What are your favorite ways to turn everyday chores into a learning tool? My son loves to cook — I think mostly because he gets to sample ingredients. But I’ll take all the help I can get! —Erin