When it comes to activities for the boys, I like them to have a variety of experiences. Even if they are just dabbling, I find that every new experience offers a terrific learning opportunity. Early childhood development is about the formation of neuronal connections and what better way to encourage that than with first-hand experiences? Learning about a subject by being immersed in it is certainly more interesting than watching a documentary or reading about it in a book. This is especially so for children who are very hands-on.
Life is all about experiences – going on adventures, seeing new sights, learning new things. Since Aristotle was a baby, I have had these grand plans to take the boys (at that time the plan was to take whatever children I had when they were old enough) travelling so they can see other countries, experience other cultures and observe the way other people live. If there was one thing I wished my parents did with me, it was to travel around the world.
Aside from travelling, other experiences I think children should have are of the working world where they can observe careers in action to learn about some of the ways that we can make a living. So far, Aristotle has seen the daily ongoings at his aunt’s cafe. He has even helped out with the cookie production. Then we had the store where he had first hand experience in customer service and sales. So when Daddy wanted to take him to work, I was all for it. Learning all about what Daddy does at work seemed like the perfect continuation to his learning about the working world.
If your job allows it, bringing your child to work can be a terrific learning opportunity. Of course some jobs make for more interesting observation for a child compared to others. Those that allow children to try their hand at it are even better, for instance, a bakery where they get to learn how to make bread. And if you can’t bring your child to work, there are other opportunities that can be done during the school holidays.
I know a lot of homeschooling parents arrange special visits – to the fire station, to the ice cream factory, to the farm, to a dental clinic (I know some dentists entertain visits from groups of children), etc. The difficulty with some of these activities is that you might have to gather a group before the company will entertain your visit. Even if you can’t arrange special visits, there are lots of other experiential activities that you can take the kids on. You don’t even have to go far – you just need to know what’s available around you. For instance, during a holiday trip to Cameron Highlands, we took Aristotle to pick strawberries and learn about how tea leaves are prepared.
Of course, arranging such activities can be pretty exhausting, especially when you have more than one child. Places like Kidzania can be an easier option for parents where children can still get into character and experience first-hand what the working world is like.