Many students have difficulties understanding how academic skills introduced in the classroom relate to real life. A good way to demonstrate applications of these concepts is to incorporate them in your child’s daily routine. Here’s how to build learning into everyday activities!
1. Encourage activities that lend themselves to classroom concepts. There are plenty of fun activities to do at home that actively involve using academic tools. Card games help develop cognitive skills and working with numbers. Board games, like chess, help develop strategic planning and problem solving. Even video games can encourage reading, improve hand-eye coordination, and clarify academic concepts.
2. Organize hands-on activities that encourage learning. The act of creating something is always a positive learning experience, and it reinforces many of the skills students rely on in the classroom. Whether it’s building a Lego set, following a painting instructor, or tending to the garden – these types of activities require following directions, making creative decisions, and remaining focused on the task at hand. A particularly great hands-on activity is cooking or baking! Kitchen activities are especially fun for younger children, and following a recipe is great practice for working with measurements, conversions, and fractions. For more culinary activities to try with your kids, check out our blog “5 Reasons Cooking With Your Kids Is a Great Learning Activity (and a Whole Lot of Fun!)”
3. Look for opportunities that inspire growth. If your child has taken an interest in something, encourage them to explore that topic further. Many hobbies are excellent learning opportunities in themselves! Learning a musical instrument, for example, requires repeated practice and encourages focus and concentration. As we’ve discussed on our blogs before, a critical factor towards a student’s success is whether or not they develop a growth mindset – or, the belief that they can achieve their goals through effort and determination. Extracurricular activities and hobbies encourage kids to pursue their own interests while also forming a sense of independence.
4. Include learning with your weekly routines. Many of our typical errands require using language and math skills. Involving your kids in some of these activities is an excellent way to show how academic concepts apply to real life! Here are some suggestions:
- Grocery shopping – Challenge kids to compare prices, find the best deals, work within a budget, calculate totals, and more!
- Finances – Once your child is old enough, set up a checking account where they can monitor their savings. Money management is an important skill – for more info, check out our blog “How to Teach Your Teens to Be Financially Savvy.”
- Common purchases – Ask your kids to estimate the total cost of purchases that are calculated based on quantity (like filling up at the gas station).
- Reading – Ask your children to find a magazine or newspaper article that interests them each week. Then, have them summarize and explain what they learned in their own words.
- Logic – Approach your kids with open-ended questions, especially when dealing with current events and the media. This not only helps your children to form their own thoughts and opinions, but also emphasizes the importance of separating fact from fiction. For more info on this topic, check out our recent blog “Staying Informed: Talking To Kids About Current Events & How To Critically Evaluate Information.”