Helping your child to learn

Young minds are active every moment they’re awake – and they’re always learning.

You can help that process, developing their curiosity and boosting their self-confidence so that they’re eager to tackle new challenges and push boundaries.

If you’d like some pointers about the best way to support your children, come along to one or more of our regular workshops for parents. Among the titles are Developing a love of reading and Developing a love of mathematics and we’re always on the lookout for new topics, so do get in touch if you have any suggestions.

Meanwhile, here are some suggestions.

Counting games

Peel an orange. How many segments are there? Eat two – how many are left? Eat half – how many are left?

How many hops on one leg can they count in a minute?

Practice fractions by cutting pizza.

Get them to sort the washing by counting in twos. You’ll find lots more ideas here.

Book them up

Reading is a pleasure for life, so start by reading to them and get them to follow the words as you speak them, then get them to read with you.

10-15 minutes is the usual attention span for a reading session. Little and often is best.

Pictures help understanding – they give clues to the meaning of words.

Mix it up: picture books, hardbacks, magazines, comics, poetry books, information books, recipes – they’re all useful.

You can download more ideas here.

Play I spy

It increases your child’s vocabulary and shows them that words can have very different spellings even if they sound the same – think queue and cue.

I spy can also help them to learn the alphabet – let them choose the letters and spell the words out loud.

The great outdoors

Walks in the woods, parks or countryside allow them to identify animal tracks, trees and plants, while building dens helps them become more aware of their surroundings and the need to take to protect them.

Give them a window box or corner of the garden to grow their own plants from seeds and bulbs, so they can see how life blossoms. Indoors, growing old-fashioned mustard and cress on blotting paper still gives small people a thrill.

Be culture vultures

Every time a child visits a museum, art gallery or library, they’ll find something utterly new.

Keep an eye on new local exhibitions – they frequently contain elements designed specifically for children.

Let’s cook!

Cooking and baking are excellent ways to learn about temperatures, weights, measurements and time.

Children love the mess of cooking – and even if they are picky eaters, they’ll generally eat what they’ve made.

Sing, dance and talk

Talk, talk and more talk – the more you talk and the more your children do, the more interested they’ll be in pretty much everything. Discuss anything from the weather to family news and what’s on tv for kids. When you’re out and about, point out colours, numbers, words and letters and encourage them to do the same.

Sing nursery rhymes. You’ll not only be keeping a great tradition alive, you’ll be reinforcing the way they memorise things. The more they absorb now, the more they’ll be able to absorb when they’re older.

Dance with them – it improves co-ordination, boosts self-confidence and it’s good, old-fashioned fun.