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It is said that “every day is a new day to learn something new”. Children learn all the basics at school, but why stop there? If every day is a new day to learn something new, children should be exercising their right to know. This helps the development of their learning to evolve, not just this, but it helps students retain information and do well at school.
Not only this but due to the concern of COVID-19 and new guidelines on social distancing, many schools are not able to some fun group activities resulting in parents looking for ways to build on the skill their child has been learning whilst having fun at the same time. This, of course, puts immense pressure on parents, especially when play dates, crowded places, cinemas, and other group activities have been temporarily put on hold.
So, what sort of home learning activities can you do with your child? The list is endless, but we have come up with a few ideas that will get your inspiration juices flowing!
A child’s imagination is vast and wide, why not grow on that skill by reading your child’s favourite book? You can take it in turns on who reads what and discuss the storyline, characters, plot, and description of things in the book. Children love being comforted with their favourite books, and the act of repetition helps develop literacy skills. Why not take a trip to a bookstore or charity shop and pick a book to start together? Remember, reading does not have to be done sitting down in the quiet, you can listen to relaxing music in the background, or use the book as a topic of conversation!
This one is for car drives. Just because some places are still closed does not mean we cannot enjoy the outdoors if that is accessible! Take guesses of the chances of something happening such as a green light turning red, the number of times you see a silver car. Again, this gets their imagination going and practising their mathematical skills by working on probability and chance.
This home learning activity can be played anywhere, at the shop, on a walk, how many TV adverts between programmes on the TV…
From me to you
Writing exercises do not have to be boring, they can be fun and loving! Why not make a habit of leaving each other messages on post-it notes and sticking them on the fridge. Try writing lists of chores, things to do, etc…
This home learning exercise builds on their handwriting and spelling skills. Regular writing in children has shown better results at school.
Cooking maths up
If your children enjoy cooking or watching you cook, why not invite them to help you prep the food. This is a great chance to practise their measuring, counting, and recognising shapes. You can challenge them by asking them how many people are eating and push the question further, so they develop how many utensils and plates they may need to set out. You can also get creative and ask them to help clean up, ask them how many things there is to wash up, can they estimate how long that will take? What shapes are the sponges?
Treasure hunt anybody?
Another fun and enjoyable home learning activity is a fun mathematical treasure hunt. Get the whole family involved by setting out clues around the house and garden (if you have one!)
The clues could be a simple sum they have to solve; however, all the answers reveal the code to opening the treasure chest.
Emile Dungeons and Dragons
Focusing on probability and chance does not have to revolve around outside activities waiting for things to happen. At Emile, we created a dungeon and dragons children map where you and your family can take a trip into the world of Emile, where the use of imagination and probability is needed!
To start, you only need two dice and the map we have provided – feeling creative? Why not create your own map!
How to play:
The goal is to cross the river, pass the checkpoints, find Emile and take him back to the castle. We do this by storytelling and making decisions with the help of the dice.
Players must first give their character a name, you can use counters to resemble each player, the dungeon master (the adult in the house) must then introduce the mission and state the dice rule – this is what will determine if your decisions are successful or not – keep in mind what both of your dice adds up to!
For example, your rule could be “5 higher” which means if you roll anything above a 5 the chances and probability of you succeeding are high. However, the dungeon master can decide whether the number is high enough for the decision that needs to be made.
If this sounds too complicated, do not worry! We have set up an example of how to play underneath the map:
Rule: 6 or higher.
Dungeon master: Strong warriors have gathered by the river and have found a boat that allows them to cross to be able to explore what is on the other side. But there is just one problem, the boat has a big hole! [name of player] You are carrying a tool kit in your backpack; how will you fix the boat?
Player: I would first check the hole and use any broken wood to fix the hole.
Dungeon master: [Player] Please roll your dice to see if you have succeeded.
The player would now roll their dice. In this scenario, the player rolls a seven. Bear in mind the rule is six or higher.
Dungeon master: [Player] attempts to fix the boat, but he runs out of wood! He is so close to mending the boat too! Would anyone like to help finish fixing the boat?
This will help children understand the rules and approaches to probability.
Silly questions have serious answers!
One thing that families love to engage in is: “always keep learning”. For many of us, learning has been such a fun way to discover small interesting facts (Check out our Instagram for weekly fun facts!) with the help of youtube or google, you can find all the answers you need to questions that you may not know the answer for. Interesting questions we have had in the past are:
- What happens to your ankle when you fall on it?
- Why is the sky blue?
- Why is the grass green?
These questions that children ask are great opportunities to start a conversation to keep learning at home. Not just this, these opportunities for conversation will help develop self-awareness and ideas that will aid children to learn independently in the future.
Since many places are booked up to go and eat out, why not bring culture to your own home. Children love learning new things, especially when it’s so different to what they are used to. Plan days where you can explore different cultures: listen to music, watch films, documentaries, try new food, explore the language and educate yourself on the culture to be well informed. Involving children in different cultures helps them become more diverse and open to different things!
Here is an example of what cultures you can try:
To learn more about culture and how to educate your children, you can look at the resources on the Family Lives organisation.
Science, without the explosions
Home learning activities should be about having fun whilst engaging in activities that will help develop a child’s education, so why not set up your own science lab at home? Bring out the kitchen jugs and random ingredients (Salt, food dye, sugar, oil, bicarbonate soda to name a few) to set up your own experiment station.
The most common experiments are mixing vinegar with bicarbonate soda, or testing how long it takes for salt to dissolve in hot and cold water.
This last one may not seem like a home learning activity; however, it is essential for children’s learning. Take note of what really makes your child happy and encourage that interest. If your child is incredibly interested in reading, introduce them to different child-friendly genres like poetry and comics! Or if your child is interested in building, pull out the LEGO’s and building blocks, discuss shapes and angles! There is always something new to learn inside a child’s imagination whether it is with numbers, literature, art, and science!