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7 Activities to Improve your Child’s Development

7 Activities to Improve your Child’s Development

We all love to watch our children develop and grow. We love teaching them, playing with them, and simply observing how innocent minds process information. However, every parent wants to make sure that their children develop at a normal pace, so we do minor checkups concerning their intelligence, speaking skills, motor skills, etc. Since a child can’t tell if something isn’t right, parents are constantly on the lookout and they want to make sure that they have a healthy and intelligent kid.

Of course, there are various types of intelligence — linguistic, kinaesthetic, logical, spatial, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. These types of intelligence are in a state of equilibrium, so when someone lacks something, they usually makes up for in other aspects. So, you can have an eloquent kid who has an incredible singing talent, but who has difficulties with calculating.

However, this doesn’t mean that your kid is doomed to be a bad mathematician; it only means that math will require more hard work, and the same goes for any other skill your child naturally lacks. So, here are a few activities that will help your kid develop properly and that are really fun at the same time.

1. Lego blocks

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    Lego blocks have been around for generations, and children of all ages love to play with them. However, Legos are so much more than a mere toy, they can help develop some useful skills. For example, Lego blocks come with instructions, so kids can practice how to read and how to follow instructions.

    Another benefit is calculation, since you need a particular number of pieces to build something, therefore math is involved to some degree as well. Also, Legos are very good for promoting creativity and spatial intelligence. If possible, get your kids hooked on playing with Lego blocks!

    2. Minecraft

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      Minecraft is like a more complex and advanced version of Legos. It’s one of the most popular video games and people of all ages are very enthusiastic about it. In Minecraft, you can build, create, re-shape, and disassemble things. But, you also need to find resources, gather materials, and strategize how to increase your base.

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      Much like playing with Legos, Minecraft promotes the development of the same skills but on a more advanced level. Also, your kid is likely to continue playing the game as they grow older, exploring various other features the game has to offer. Minecraft can even help your kid master coding, which is an incredibly useful skill to have in the 21st century.

      3. Treasure Hunting

      This is a really fun parent-child activity, and it can also benefit your child to a great extent. Of course, it may take a lot of time for you to set it up, but the end result is certainly worth it. Basically, you buy something for your kid and hide it. In order for the object to be found, the child must solve a series of puzzles and riddles.

      Clearly, this is an activity that is a bit more advanced, but it incites critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Alternatively, you can play scavenger hunts if your child is a bit younger. You can do this at the supermarket or at home, and it is also really simple. Tell your kid to find all the objects that are round-shaped or that are purple in color, but make sure you provide an example of the item he or she should be looking for.

      Once you see everything your child has brought, you can see whether he or she recognizes shapes and objects regularly, and test his or her color perception.

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      4. Puzzles

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        Puzzles are awesome; all you need to remember is to gradually increase their difficulty. A kid can probably do any small box with 50-70 puzzle pieces on their own, but with larger ones, it’s good to help or to get a pair of children to work together. Puzzles are great for pattern and shape recognition, memory boosting, and for teaching collaboration. Additionally, you will end up with a beautiful picture that you can frame and hang on the wall afterwards.

        5. Coloring books

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          Coloring books are another plaything that kids love and that help their growth. They are great, especially for kids who can’t read yet. Coloring books help children develop their artistic side, and they also help them develop some useful motor skills that will come in handy when children are learning to write, because coloring books require a firm hand grip and precision. Moreover, coloring books are really soothing and relaxing, so it’s a good idea to allow your child to relax with one after a stressful activity.

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          6. Playing with marbles

          Marbles are like a miniature version of a pool table, since a child needs precision and visualization in order to be successful at it. It’s a bit of an old-fashioned game, but people who were kids during the 80s and 90s are very familiar with the concept. You need to launch a small marble from your hand and hit the other marble strong enough to expel it from the circle.

          7. Reading and singing

          It’s good to have some books for kids that you can read with your children and teach them how to read as well. It’s a skill they will definitely need, and you can start as soon as they are 4 years old. The problem is that not all kids find reading interesting, but with a colorful book, it might just work. You can also make some flashcards with pictures before you move on to the texts. You can also teach your kids some songs and invite them to sing together. This way, you test memory, acoustic intelligence, and word recognition.

          Remember, the most important skills are also known as the four C’s of the 21st century: creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. All of the activities mentioned here will influence those skills, so try to implement them during your child’s development.

          Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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          Djordje Todorovic

          Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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          Published on November 7, 2018

          How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

          How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

          In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

          The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

          Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

          How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

          After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

          Figure Out the Laws

          Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

          The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

          Decide on an Approach

          Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

          Supplies/Resources

          Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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          A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

          Find a Community

          Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

          Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

          7 Different Homeschooling Methods

          1. School-At-Home

          Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

          The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

          • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
          • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
          • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

          2. Classical

          One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

          Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

          3. Unit Studies

          Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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          For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

          • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
          • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
          • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

          4. Charlotte Mason

          This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

          Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

          5. Montessori

          Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

          With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

          6. Unschooling

          Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

          For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

          7. Eclectic/Relaxed

          As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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          Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

          How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

          One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

          Email

          Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

          It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

          Google Drive/Calendar

          Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

          With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

          Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

          Ebooks

          Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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          E-Courses

          When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

          From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

          The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

          Some recommendations:

          Youtube

          Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

          Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

          Some recommendations:

          Final Thoughts

          Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

          Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

          Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

          Reference

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