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‘Entertaining the baby is so difficult!’ Over the last few months I’ve heard this line or versions of it so often that it made me wonder if babies are boring; or whether they truly need to be entertained and stimulated all the time? By babies I mean children from newborns to about 5 years old, primarily pre-schoolers. Parenting 2015 is all about classes and activities both at home and outside it to make the child (brain and personality) brighter, faster, better. The pace is fast and competition is the buzz word. No one seems to want to just be and enjoy the moment. Very soon I envision classes for children that will feature ‘Constructive quiet time techniques’ that will teach kids how to detach from gadgets without getting hysterical, how to enjoy their own company and how to entertain themselves.
Young children benefit from learning through exploring, creating, discovering and playing. Experiential experiences help them understand the world around them. This learning could be unstructured without rules and time limits and very little adult intervention or then via activities like outdoor play, art, music, nature exploration and pretend play in which the adult could serve as the initiator. We have probably all marvelled at how our child at one year seemed so fascinated with the cardboard boxes that fancy toys came packaged in rather than the toy itself. That’s apparently due to the developmental stage for that age. Toys are cool but at the age of about a year, the child cannot do much with it. The developmental stage at that age is the sensorimotor play stage when the baby explores objects with the eyes, hands and mouth. A cardboard box offers babies much more in terms of this kind of exploration than a toy. This actually led some companies in the UK to distribute cardboard boxes to parents to encourage free play. While boxes of varied sizes are fun for completely unstructured play, another kind of box that is definitely interesting is an activity box. Companies like Wonderboxx don’t just provide the box but exciting ideas within that ensure parents never have to wonder how to entertain their young kids again.
Parents or primary caregivers are the child’s first and most important teachers. How we speak with our babies, what we tell them, what we show them, what we read to them, what we expose them to, what they see us do and say all add to their understanding of the world. Modes of transport is one topic that young children are fascinated with irrespective of gender. It’s also a topic that is easy to delve into from almost anywhere in a city. Show and tell from a balcony or a window is easily conducted. The topic of transportation lends itself to many avenues of learning based on how creative you want to be. You can connect transport to learning about sizes, colours, rhymes, how things work, travel, maps, geography, history, math and road safety too.
Art and craft that can easily be done at home are useful tools to reinforce learning. I remember our child coming back from his pre-school field trip to a local traffic park full of excitement about the experience. He wanted to make his own traffic signal and paint zebra crossings around the house. Parents today have the option of wonderful, innovative, theme based, age specific, hands-on learning monthly subscription activity boxes. Typically created for children 1 year to 8 years, these boxes come with toys, D-I-Y activities, books, and tips for parents that work towards hours of endless fun for the child.
Imagine an activity box based on transportation full of D-I-Y activities like make your own car, glider, and boat; make a 3d transportation city; a card game; a transportation timeline scroll and more. Guess what!? This actually exists. There’s a super option available this month at Wonderboxx for kids 3 to 5 years that has all this and more created by a team of young parents, pedagogy experts, product designers, children authors and illustrators. You can also find some amazing discounts.
Click here to know more about how you can enhance your child’s knowledge in language, arts, craft, social sciences, creation and construction.
Here’s to happy, excitement filled, experiential learning fun days at home with your child!