What’s the secret to learning? Movement. These everyday activities offer great ways to get children moving and help them develop skills they’ll use for life:
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 four-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 cleanup 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.
For more information, please visit: www.childtime.com, www.childrenscourtyard.com, www.lapetite.com, www.montessori.com and www.tutortime.com
Headquartered in Novi, Mich., Learning Care Group provides early education and child care services to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years within its portfolio of brands: The Children’s Courtyard, Childtime Learning Centers, La Petite Academy, Montessori Unlimited and Tutor Time Child Care/Learning Centers. Learning Care Group operates more than 900 schools (corporate and franchise) across 36 states, the District of Columbia and internationally, and has a system-wide capacity to serve more than 100,000 children. Learning Care Group and its subsidiaries are equal opportunity employers and providers. For more information, please visit www.learningcaregroup.com