With many kids now having experienced some sort of e-learning while they were stuck at home attending classes during COVID, many have returned to the classrooms.
During this time, parents have found themselves needing to partially provide support in the role as a substitute teacher as their teachers were not around. Despite heading back to the classrooms, many have found various ways to educate their children in their homes with fun activities.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the more popular ideas of having fun with your kids at home but with an educational mindset so they can develop skills for life. The key to these activities is learning by doing, while having fun.
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What Are Some Fun Things You Can Do With Your Kids While TeachingThem Life Long Skills?
Digital Skills – Creating Their Own Unique Stickers
With each passing generation, kids are being introduced to technology at an earlier age than ever before. Children are learning how to use mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, and access forms of entertainment even without the guidance of parents.
To better educate your children on basic digital skills, consider doing a fun exercise with them where they can create their own stickers. This activity has a clear outcome and everlasting effects: the stickers are the clear reward and using them to stick on their personal possessions, such as a tablet or a toy, provides a form of personalization and individuality.
To create stickers, you’ll need to go through several steps on your computer that will teach your children the basics of computer usage. First, you’ll need to install a simple photo editing software. There are many free options out there including Luminar or Paint.NET.
Next, searching on Google for graphics your kids want to print out is a great place to start brainstorming ideas. These two activities will teach your kids how to work with basic software and learn basic skills on how to Google things they want to look for.
Finally, once you have your desired graphics finished, you’ll need to print them out. This part of the activity will require finding a printer as well as the correct paper. This allows for a trip to the local store where they can help pick the paper they need. For the printer, luckily there are many printers that are great for printing stickers easily purchasable in the same place as your paper.
While many steps are involved, this activity gives your children an opportunity to work with computer software, learning to search on internet browsers, and work with simple tools like printers all with a splash of creativity with their own unique stickers.
Cooking for Life – Learning the Difference Between Cooking and Baking
Cooking is one of the most obvious choices for most households in teaching kids’ lifelong skills. However, with the advent of food delivery services, more instant-based meals, and every possible service to bring you food without ever leaving the home, many kids are in danger of not learning basic cooking skills they can utilize for the rest of their lives.
The focus here is two things: the art of cooking and the science of baking.
Try to think of two dishes: one that you have a recipe for but is easily adjustable and another that requires baking and is heavily dependent on following the precise recipe.
Start by going to the grocery store with your kids and letting them help you pick out the ingredients.
When you return home, instead of one person just cooking a single dish, cook two different versions of the dish. By having two different versions, let your child do taste tests along the way and have one batch where they can adjust the taste using the appropriate ingredients, like salt or pepper for example.
The other batch should be left alone and considered as the “mock” version. Once you are done, let your child try them both and really learn about how cooking is an art and needs adjustment on the way. They will taste the difference and learn how they may need to adjust their cooking with appropriate ingredients, like salt or pepper, as they are cooking.
For the dish that requires baking, again start baking two different versions of it. For one version, ensure you follow the recipe exactly with correct measurements. For the other “mock” version, eyeball it and try to measure ingredients with your best guess without using measuring tools.
Once you are done, chances are, the mock dessert or baked treat may be completely off from what the recipe called for. The lesson here is that desserts and baking require you to follow the recipe unlike cooking.
Giving them first-hand experience, and letting them visually see and taste-test what happens with cooking and baking are great lessons that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
Outdoor Skills – Managing Pests and Nuisances
Heading outside, one fun activity to do with the kids is allow them to grow their own plants. Similar to the cooking exercise earlier, you’ll be doing something similar where you’ll create two different sets of plants.
Popular plants to grow include strawberries and blueberries. The two sets will have one key difference: one will be planted around an area that is well maintained while the other will be set in an area that is not well maintained.
For the plants in the well maintained area, consider using various herbicides to control insects and weed killers to control the weeds that may grow in the area.
In the unmaintained area, consider doing the minimal work of watering, pruning, and repotting the plants when necessary. Do not use herbicides or other weed killers to control uninvited guests.
The purpose of this exercise is to teach kids about the work that goes into growing their foods and other plants. They’ll start to witness, to their dismal, the plants in the unmaintained area slowly start to attract various insects and other pests that ruin their plants.
The pandemic has reinforced learning that can be done at home. Rather than generic homework, kids should be doing experiential learning where they experience new things to build new life skills that will help them build the skills they need when they are out in the real world looking for work.
We’ve gone through three different examples today, with varying degrees of different lifelong skills including digital skills, cooking skills, and finally outdoor skills to maintain their very own plants. There are many other ways to teach your kids – walk around the house and think of various ways you can teach your kid another good skill, albeit while having fun!