Thursday, February 19, 2009

Learning from informal activities

1. Bake and decorate a cake with your child: you can let him choose the type of cake he wants, and then help him follow the instructions from the relevant recipe. From this activity alone, he can learn about weights and capacities, the effects of temperature and time on the baking process, units, proportion, aeration, and the chemical reactions that take place when the cake is
baked. Of course, there is no need for him to learn all or even some of these things, as long as he is enjoying himself!
For a bit of additional fun, you can let him taste the cake mixture or ingredients if they are edible.

2. Show your child how you do your grocery shopping: he can help you make a shopping list, learn how to navigate the supermarket to find what he wants, compare prices, weigh items, remind you of what to buy, etc. You can even give him a small budget to buy whatever he wants, so that he can see for himself how money is used in practice.

3. Let your child help you plan a holiday. He can learn about his destination from books, brochures, and the Internet; he might also find out where he is going on a map, plan routes, calculate expenditures, choose what he wants to take with him, and so on.

4. Your child might like to observe how animals behave in different situations and how they react to different stimuli. For example, he can wiggle a string in front of a cat to see how it reacts, make a habitat for earthworms, learn how to communicate with various animals, or try to teach a pet new tricks.

5. Let your child see how far he can throw different objects. Encourage him to measure distances and angles, and let him experiment with various angles and objects of different shapes, materials, and sizes to see how the trajectories are affected.

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