This post is a paid promotion by Fisher-Price and all opinions are my own.Thank you, Fisher-Price, for sending us these products.
Many of you have asked me how our journey with homeschool preschool is going. I am excited to finally update you on all that I’ve learned so far. I also want to share a few tips from my years as a Kindergarten teacher and now a teaching mom on how to foster a learning environment at home. Keep reading to learn more!
How to Foster A Learning Environment at Home
Fostering a learning environment at home is simple when you allow your child to guide their learning. For us, we’ve found that if Gracie shows interest in something (the ocean, animals, vehicles), we try to capitalize on that and help it guide what we do. Here are a few ways we’ve learned work well in allowing Gracie to take the lead.
Allow Children to Guide Learning
I knew going into this year that I needed to be flexible both with myself and with Gracie, as she was only three years old. I didn’t have any major structure planned because I knew from my experience as a Kindergarten teacher that children learn best through play. I don’t plan to do any formal lessons with Gracie until she’s at least five.
Most of the “lessons” we’ve done so far this year are completely informal and unplanned. For instance, I read a story to Gracie, and we’d discuss a few words we read and maybe recount the events, and that’s it! A wonderful opportunity for conversation, and she learned some vocabulary words in the making. The best part? She picked the story. She gets to guide the learning that we do!
Imagination and Learning
Another one of my favorite ways to work with children in informal learning is through imagination. Gracie’s new toy in these photos is Wonder Makers™ products. A new design system for ages 3+ that allows children to get creative through play. The product is made out of fabric, wood, rubber, and plastic elements that fit together to create different storylines unique to your child’s interests! For example, the wooden track you see in these photos can be used as a track, the pillar of a building, or cargo!
Gracie was a huge fan of trains for a while. She loves pretending that people are riding the train at the zoo like she always does! She’s also very interested in vehicles. In the picture below she lined them all up and pretended they were waiting at the car mechanic to get their oil changed! You can probably tell that she’s accompanied me on a few oil change errands in real life. I love that it translates to her play too.
I love finding games and products that further Gracie’s interests. Play is one of the easiest and most effective ways for children to understand and make sense of new information. Wonder Makers toys are a useful tool that help foster imaginary play and learning at home.
Connection and Skill Through Play
Connection is one of the most important things children can receive from the adults that care for them. Playing with your children, or even talking to them is so enriching for their learning!
We used the Wonder Makers Post Office to practice counting today. I pretended to have one of the people stand at the top of the post office and there’s a little slide for the packages to slide down to be loaded on. I had Gracie catch the packages as she pretended to be a post office worker. Each time I slid a package down, I would count (as the character I was playing), “1, 2, 3, 4…” and she thought it was so funny!
Later that day when her dad came home, they played the same game together. Counting those packages did so much for her. It allowed her to pretend she worked at the post office. She practiced counting to 10. She spent some quality time with me, and also with her father. It was fun to see her enjoy herself!
Children Learn Best When They Can Relate to Their World
When Gracie first saw the Wonder Makers design system set up with the multiple products, she immediately noticed the Farmer’s Market stand. We go to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday, so when saw it, she asked if they had fruits and veggies for sale there! Children learn so much of what they know from the world around them! Their little world is so important to them and they soak it up.
I love that Wonder Makers toys allows Gracie that familiarity through buildings, vehicles, and trees, but also gives her the ability to stay creative and build the objects into what she imagines! The picture below is supposed to be someone’s house, but if you look at the picture below that one, she took that little garage and turned it into an airport for her airplane.
We then had a 5-minute-long discussion about how much fun she had on our recent family vacation where we all flew on a plane together. It was so fun to remember that with her, and talk with her about it several months later.
I am a big believer in the term “life-long learner” and I believe there is always something new to learn! I plan to continue our current set-up of learning through language, role-playing, and using imagination as a guide for Gracie’s learning. I’m very happy with how much progress we’ve made with our first year of “learning” at home.
Order Wonder Makers™ on Prime Day
Wonder Makers™ toys are available only on Amazon.com currently for Amazon Prime members! Be sure to check out the new Wonder Makers products from Fisher-Price on Prime Day July 15th – July 16th.
I hope that this post with tips on how to foster a learning environment at home was helpful to you! If you have any questions about the products or any of the tips I mentioned, please let me know in the comments below!