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After I became mom, I wanted to engage my little one in constructive playing with learning also rather than just fun and time pass. Though kids are very smart and quick in grasping and adapting to the surroundings, I wanted to create an early learning environment at home.
I read about Montessori principle and how it is practised in daily life. Though I didn’t follow the Montessori as per the Rule Book (or so), I followed by baby’s cues and created activities that he found interesting and intriguing. Instead of using all wooden material, I preferred to use a variety that was available at home.
I became a user of Pinterest and used to pin loads of easy DIY learning activities. And then would make them during kid’s nap time. That is how I thought of starting my own blog, to share my DIYs and craft activities with fellow moms.
I am a minimalist and prefer to make economic stuff for educating cum playing with minimum wastage and investment. For ex., to teach shapes, I cut a thick foam sheet first and then made shapes out of felt cloth. Later we graduated to using his toys and household objects to reinforce the same.
We used to do a lot of craft work also with handprint, footprint, paper plates, popsicles, glitters, pom poms, tissue paper rolls, cardboard boxes etc.. all with lowest possible investment. Involving kids in art and craft from younger age enables them to:-
I believe in investing in open-ended, pretend play toys and blocks of different shapes & styles which enhance creativity and problem-solving. I used to ask him to create buildings, cycle, robot, spaceship etc. with his blocks and he can spend hours working on them and never ceases to surprise me with his perceptions.
Key points to follow:
1. Let them EXPLORE: Give them the charge, don’t guide or help, let them explore experiment, visualize, solve, create, and find ways on their own. And you take a back seat and invigilate, and take joy in watching them discover, invent, learn and grow.
2. Let’s get MESSY: Getting those tiny hands and feet dirty are extremely important for sensory and motor development. Don’t fret about the clean-up if your child loves messy play with slime, sand, water, colors, flour, clay, give them the opportunity and will be thankful to yourself.
3. Do it TOGETHER: Don’t just hand-over the stuff and walk-away, sit with the child, show interest in the activity, start doing it and he will be delighted in joining you.
4. Keep lowest EXPECTATIONS: Many moms tell me that they fear about the outcome of any activity or craft and whether their child will show interest or not. Trust me, more than 90% times, the crafts don’t turn out like I had thought or seen on Pinterest. More than 50% times, he won’t be willing to do the activity the supposed way or just want to tear, drop, throw, smash.
But you got to keep trying. Follow the baby, learn from them. They are the best teachers and they teach us how we should be doing things to make them understand.
At the end, what matters is my child enjoyed painting his hands and body, trying to figure out ways to solve the problem at hand, got some body muscles moving and brain cells working;. And such activities and fun learning plays at home also enhance parent-child bonding and emotional development. and it’s all worth the efforts!