1. Play dough is an educational superstar! It helps strengthen hand muscles, and allows your child to explore his creativity and imagination. By mixing play dough of different colours together, your child is learning colour theory; moulding the play dough helps him to explore different shapes. Better still, it’s super-easy to make. Find a recipe and let your child help you make a batch of play dough: this helps him learn about concepts such as measurement, heat and malleability.
2. Puzzles are a great way to strengthen your child’s visual analysis and synthesis skills, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and concentration.
3. I-spy is probably the easiest game of all as it requires absolutely no setup or equipment. Say, for instance, ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with b’ (remember to use the phonetic sound: for example ‘buh’) and have your child guess the object. You can play it in the car or while doing your shopping: this will help add to your child’s ever-increasing vocabulary while helping him hone his auditory perceptual skills.
4. Bath time fun. Add a sprig of rosemary, mint or lavender to your child’s bath water to help them hone their sense of smell, or a couple of drops of food colouring for learning colour theory. (To be safe, avoid aromatherapy oils, as only certain types in certain dilutions are safe for children). Add plastic (needle-free!) syringes to help strengthen hand muscles. Teach your child to blow soap bubbles to help strengthen those fine muscles in the hands and around the mouth.
5. Build an obstacle course, using whatever you have at hand. Your child will love crawling, jumping, sliding, hopping, balancing and squirming her way through the obstacle course, all the time strengthening her big muscles (gross motor) and getting loads of sensory and proprioceptive (where receptors, for example blood vessels and muscles, supply information about the state of the body) input.
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How do you help your child learn and have fun at the same time?