Guest Blog by Becky Fisher

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Exploration and play are two of the best ways to encourage a child’s creativity. Building a sense of wonderment and a desire for discovery is crucial for a successful early childhood education. I work in education technology, so I’m in the pro­technology camp. But I also was an elementary music teacher where we focused on a curriculum of playing, singing, moving, and laughing. There should always be a balance between using technology as a tool for creativity and exploring the world in a creative way. A rich variety of playtime activities broadens a young learners perspective on the world. Here are a few ideas for what to do this summer to enhance exploration and apps that can supplement the learning:

1. Visit a Museum ­ When visiting a museum with a younger child, it’s important to pick the
RIGHT museum. Children’s museums are always a great choice, but art, science, and
history museums can also open up new worlds. If you do choose a bigger museum,
make sure to have some sort of plan in place. I like to make a game out of a museum
visit by creating a scavenger hunt. Email your museum’s educators ­ they may have
something already created!

App to Supplement Learning: PlayART by Tapook

2. Go to the Playground ­ But don’t just go to the playground. Turn the playground into a
pirate ship that is sailing the seas in search of treasure. Make a map of the playground
and hide some sort of “treasure” in the area. You can even make the map together and
reuse it when you return to the playground. Just make sure you hide the treasure in
different areas!

App to Supplement Learning: Toontastic

3. Build a Fort ­ There are tons of items in your house perfect for building a fort. Grab some
chairs and blankets to create the structure. Then find some paper and markers to
decorate the fort. You can use tape or safety pins to hang the decorations. If you’re
feeling ambitious, make a multi­room fort with separate “living” spaces. You can even
sleep in there!

App to Supplement Learning: Toca Builders

4. Take a Hike ­ Get outside and experience nature. First, go online and find trees, birds,
plants, flowers, and animals that are indigenous to your neighborhood. Then create a
checklist of all these items including pictures. Lace up your sneakers, head outside,
breathe in the fresh air, and start your search. Every time you locate one of the items on
the checklist give yourself a star sticker!

App to Supplement Learning: Meet the Insects

5. Write Songs ­ Don’t have a musical instrument in the house? That’s okay! Kitchen items
make great percussion instruments. Grab some pots, pans, spoons, salts, and anythingelse that makes noise if you strike or shake it. Not all songs need words but if you want
lyrics, you can use your child’s favorite poem or write some of your own! You can also
record the songs on a phone or computer and save them for sharing.

App to Supplement Learning: House Band

6. Act out a Play ­ This is just a fancy way of saying, play pretend. Allowing your child to
think through and become a different character expands the depths of imagination. It’s no
secret that playing pretend is important for growth and development, but acting out a play
is a great way for you and your whole family to get in on the fun. It can be structured with
a script, story from a book, or something you think of together. It can also be unstructured
and improvised, as long as roles

App to Supplement Learning: PlayTime Theater

7. Cook a Feast ­ Design a delicious and nutritious feast with your young one and get cooking. This is a great way to be creative, explore, and try new things. We also have a ton of suggestions for fun and healthy meals on our Pinterest page!

App to Supplement Learning: Nutrition and Healthy Eating! Fun games to teach kids in Preschool and Kindergarten about balanced diet by iLearn with Bo

8. Camp out, ­ Pitch a tent and go camping…in your backyard! No need to go all the way to the woods. Pack a dinner and snacks, head into the tent, and use the time with nature to talk with your child. Tell stories, play games, invent new worlds, make shadow puppets with your flashlights, and expand your imaginations as much as possible. Ask your child to come up with a game or iterate on a game that you’re already playing. It will encourage them to find their sense of wonderment and discovery, and share the experience with you!

App to Supplement Learning: Solar Walk

 

About the Author:

Becky Fisher is the Marketing and Community Manager at Kidaptive, Inc. She loves building things that promote creativity and believes that education and technology should be cultivating a generation of passionate learners. Becky has a master’s degree in education from Harvard University.
Twitter: @bfish921
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bfish921

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