Teaching our older children and trying to engage with, and stimulate our younger ones can prove to be quite a difficult feat at times. Here are 5 examples of how I manage to homeschool without becoming an anxiety-ridden mother.
1. Sensory Boxes
Sensory boxes can help stimulate and educate our little ones which allow us to continue teaching our older children in a more effective and time conducive way. What is a sensory box? A sensory box is a container filled with different learning apparatus or toys that encourage your child to use their imagination and senses all at the same time. What do you put in a sensory box? Rule of thumb, anything goes.
I like to use materials that are tactile enhancing. Such as cooked pasta, died rice, shaving cream (frozen or unfrozen), sand, mud, cloud dough, playdough, ice blocks, sawdust – anything you can think of. Place this in a square or rectangular container and fill with everyday objects. You could also follow a theme, sea-life, dinosaurs, cars, small dolls, shapes, blocks, or you could let your child choose what they would like to play with and add those.
It really is up to you.
2. Chalk Drawings
This is one of our favourites teaching “tricks”. We do it all the time and what’s best, is that you can include ALL your children in this activity. My older children will write math sums, letters, science drawings and words outside on the pavement with chalk, whilst the younger ones are drawing their magic wonders. You could include shadow drawings, games like hopscotch, patterns, tracing, shapes, beginning sounds, animals. Again, whatever you have in mind to teach for the day, can all be done in chalk, outside in the fresh air.
3. Paint, Cut and Paste
My children love painting, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I don’t. All I see is a mess, and that’s something that I need to work on. Print pictures for your little ones, let them paint them, cut them and stick them onto a new piece of paper. In this one activity, you are teaching directionality (Visual Perception), eye-hand coordination (Visual Motor), two-handed coordination (by cutting and movement of the Paper), finger dexterity (Fine Motor Skills) and that’s not all, you are helping your child strengthen the muscles in his/her hands which plays an important role in writing and so much more.
With painting and the use of different colours, you are allowing your child to express their emotions through creativity and without verbal interaction.
4. Open-Ended Toys
Most of us have these toys lying around our house, or, we could create our own.
Read this post to find out more about how open-ended toys can bring stimulation and creativity right into your home.
You read that right… Good old fashioned dirt.
We don’t need to spend money on expensive toys in order to stimulate our children. Most of what we need is all around us. If you have a garden use it to your advantage. If you don’t have a garden you can make “Play Dirt” with corn starch, shaving cream and brown food colouring. It might feel a little sloppy at first but will slowly turn into the desired rough consistency.
Playing outside and getting all dirty has the following benefits.
- Fresh air and vitamin D gets that “happy” hormone raging. It is proven to increase mental health and mood stability.
- Creativity – by making up their own games, building mud castles/cakes, making potions and the like, you are stimulating your child’s imagination, vocabulary and problem-solving skills.
- Nothing lowers a child’s anxiety more than unstructured play. (In my opinion)
- Your mental health! Sometimes, we just need a break, grab a book, a cup of tea and sit outside whilst your younger child enjoys living in their own world for a little and your older child continues with a few more activities.
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