Helping Kids Become Independent Learners Series
Helping Kids Become Independent Learners Series -
Projects for You and Your Children to Do Together (while they take the lead)
Make a bird house - There are many pre-made templates out there you can purchase either online or at a big box store. Many times, the pieces for these are precut and ready to assemble - it’s just a 3D puzzle you put together, which is absolutely fine! If you’d prefer to start from scratch, especially if you have older children, you can find birdhouse plans online, which is a great place to start, especially if this is your first time building something together. Take out the guesswork! After you’ve found your plans or purchased your template, make sure you have paints and brushes so that once the birdhouse is assembled, you can paint it together. Once your birdhouse is ready to go up, make sure you read about the best places to put the house so that it actually gets used by birdies this spring and summer.
Make dinner together - This is a fun weeknight activity you can do together as a family. Have the kids pick out what they’d like to make for dinner some evening (plan for a future evening so there’s plenty of time to shop for ingredients). Once the recipe has been determined, sit down together and make a list of ingredients you’ll need to purchase for the meal. Head to the store together and have the kids do all of the shopping, making sure they’ve planned ahead so they purchase enough of each ingredient that the recipe calls for. Once you get home, let the kids do most of the prep work for the recipe, as long as it’s safe. Make sure they have freedom to make mistakes, and then have the opportunity to correct them. Cooking and baking together can be a very bonding experience, as well as being a great learning opportunity for your kids, not only in measuring and the technical side of cooking, but also helping them to learn independence and build self-confidence.
Paint their room - Kids love to express themselves and since their room is their personal space, it’s filled with opportunities to tell the world and themselves where they’re at at the present moment. Maybe your child likes muted tones, or bright colors, or maybe they’d like to paint a mural on their wall. Whatever they enjoy most can be reflected on the walls of their room. First, have your child decide on a theme, color or a specific design. If they are designing a mural or want to paint a character on their wall, have them draw it out on paper first, then it’s easier to replicate on the wall. Next, head on over to your nearest paint store and get everything you’ll need to paint away! Work together as a family to achieve the desired look. If your child is old enough, maybe they can design and create the entire thing themselves. This gives them an excellent opportunity to practice doing a project from start to finish independently.
Plant a Garden - It’s a great time of year to start thinking about planning and planting your herb, flower or vegetable garden! Sit down together and draw out a garden plan. Where are you going to plant it? How big will the garden be? What are you going to grow in your garden? Do you need to have a shaded area? These are all things to consider when planning your garden layout. Head outside with a shovel and rake and start to turn the area where your garden will be. Mix in some nutrient rich soil and turn again. Next, grab some seeds! Once your soil is ready, you can start to plant your seeds! Make sure to follow the instructions on the back of the seed packet so that you don’t plant them too close together. You can work as a family to maintain the garden, water it, weed it and eventually harvest it.
Do a cool STEM project together - STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) projects are fun and educational, and a great way to spend family time together. Choose a project where the kid(s) can take the lead and be the ‘teacher’. The activities for STEM are virtually endless. If you’re not sure about an activity, you can always Google ‘STEM activities for kids’ and you’ll have all the choices in the world that you could ever need. There are projects as simple as making a bird feeder out of peanut butter and seeds to creating a volcano to making robots.
Giving kids the opportunity to be independent creatively while learning is one of the most important skills we can give to them. We’ll be featuring many ways to help your kids become independent learners in the coming weeks.