by Nuria Santamaría Wolfe, Encantos Co-founder
Have you, like many other parents, found yourself at home with the kids for the next few weeks and don’t know what you’ll do to keep them learning (and entertained) for the rest of the summer?
Take a deep breath and get ready to do a little bit of planning. With a bit of preparation, you and your kids will get through this – learning and having fun, one day at a time.
Here are four tips to help you plan fun and educational days at home with your preschoolers.
- Start with your child’s teacher: Begin by reaching out to your child’s teacher and ask for sample lesson plans, materials, books, or any other tools they can share with you. They are the experts after all. Also, this is a great opportunity to ask if there’s any specific area where your child needs additional support so that you can focus on helping them prepare for the fall.
- Check out your library’s free digital resources: Most local libraries provide free access to myriad resources including e-books, audiobooks, magazines, movies, and TV shows. Check out a few items for them – and a few for you! The best part? No need to sign up to yet another service – it’s all part of your library membership!
- Take inventory of what you have at home: Go on a hunt around the house for forgotten educational treasures! Recruit your little treasure hunters to dig up those electronic learning toys in need of new batteries, coloring books with intact pages, half-used sticks of sideways chalk, and so many more riches lost long ago. You’ll discover that you have so much to fill their days without having to go out to buy anything.
- Create a schedule to fill your days: Develop a daily schedule that includes learning time, free play, outdoor time, and chores.
- Learning: Use a combination of books, apps, videos, music, and toys to create varied learning experiences that will keep your little one engaged in small bursts of time. Switch between the different media to hold their attention and keep them engaged.
- Free Play: Kids learn while they play! Give them tools and time to let their creativity guide their activities – building blocks, wooden toys, pillow towers, etc. Let their imagination run free and they’ll surprise you with the things they’ll build and the things they learn along the way.
- Outdoors: Plan outdoor time every day – a walk with the dog around the block, a bike ride around the neighborhood, or some time in the garden watering the plants. Use it as an opportunity for a nature lesson as you point out the blooming flowers, the bees buzzing, or the rolling clouds. There’s a science lesson waiting to be taught all around us when you’re outside.
- Chores: This is a great time to remind your little ones about the importance of community and the fact that we need everyone to pitch in and help. Assign chores throughout the day to empower your kids to contribute and feel like a valuable member of the family. Chores for preschoolers can range from helping to set the table at meals, putting all toys away in the playroom at the end of the day, helping to sort and fold laundry, and putting out food for the furry members of the household. They’ll feel proud to help out and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Most important of all: take it one day at a time. No one expects you to continue to work, take care of your family, and become a full-time teacher overnight. Remember to schedule some time for self-care so that you can stay at your best and can continue to be there for your kids to keep them learning and having fun at home.
About the author
Nuria is an entrepreneur and mom raising two bilingual children. She joined forces with another mom, Susie Jaramillo, and founded Encantos – a family entertainment and education company for today’s multicultural families.
Together they launched Canticos – a bilingual baby and toddler brand with books, apps, and sing-along videos.