Friday, November 9, 2012

A Day Out

Brother & sister experiencing a day out.
Parents often ask how they can extend their child’s learning from school to home. There are countless ways to do so, but perhaps the most important piece of advice I can provide is for them to do something as a family. Children learn by their experiences. This concept is at the cornerstone of the Montessori Method.

The experiences gained by a day out are immeasurable. Touching, feeling, smelling the world around heightens learning and provides children with lasting memories. A trip to the zoo or a museum offers the chance for a child to not only imagine being in a far off, exotic environment, but actually experiencing a close replica. It almost becomes an adventure.

Although a wonderful family event, it far too often becomes simply that...a singular event - a day out. Imagine the possibilities and the excitement that you could generate before and after your trip with just a little effort. Not only would this give your child a better experience during the day out, but also has the potential to turn your trip into a lifetime memory.

Here are a few simple ideas to do just that:
  1. Visit the local library or download some books related to the place you’ll be visiting. Read the books together. This will create excitement for your child but also help you understand your child’s perspective on where you are going. Make sure to read a good selection of both fiction and non-fiction books, to spark your child’s creativity while giving a foundation of knowledge.
  2. Make a scavenger hunt. Print out or download to your phone images that you expect to see on your trip. If your children have seen a painting or sculpture and know a little information about the artist, a trip to an art gallery becomes magical.
  3. Create a collage. Before your trip, use old magazines or print out photos of what you expect to see. During the trip, give your child a camera. I have yet to meet a child that did not love taking photographs. After the trip, have your child use their photographs to make a collage to display in their room.
  4. Go on a letter hunt. B is for Butterfly. During the day, have your child spot items that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Take a picture, upload your photos to one of the many online print services and create your own letter book from your trip.
  5. Cook a meal inspired by your trip. I saved the best for last (at least in my opinion). Nearly everything we do can have a connection to food. Cooking with your children is wonderful, so much can be learned and the experience in and of itself is simply fun.