Disclosure: As a #PlayLikeHasbro Ambassador, I have the opportunity on occasion to try out new toys with my family. Although I have received some of the products mentioned in this post for review, all opinions expressed within are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
We’re back to school around here, and that means new routines, new schedules, and new family needs. Our schedule leaves us lots of waking time before school (3 hours!!!) and only about 50 minutes before dinner, bath, and bed in their evening. Our teacher kindly only gives homework once a week or so, and it appears so far we have flexibility in when it gets done (which is helpful for nights with sports practices). With the minimal homework, that means we have freedom in how we choose to spend our non-school hours.
So we’ve compiled for you a list of three ways that we are engaging the kids in non-traditional learning activities while at home:
1. Find Engaging Ways to Practice New Skills
When the kids come home from school late in the day, they are tired! Their brains have been working all day and their little bodies have worked so hard to behave in class that they are ready to burst. The idea of doing another worksheet or reading a book after school is not too appealing to my oldest. However, we get creative in how we practice skills he learned at school.
Have you all seen the new Scrabble Twist game yet? I honestly think every teacher could use one in their classroom – what an innovative way to practice spelling and reading! The traditional Scrabble game is a staple in our house, and the handheld version allows the boys to practice making words while competing against themselves or against a friend.
Letters pop up on the little screens, and you press the letters to spell a word. You twist the end to “bank” the word and find a new one with the added letters. This is a spin on an activity that teachers are familiar with, Making Words. However, this version students can complete on their own, without a teacher or worksheet to guide them. A win for engagement for sure!
2. Schedule in Time for Imaginative Play
We often forget that imaginative play is an important part of building the skills needed for academics. We build in lots of play time before and after school. That might mean role playing with our Star Wars lightsabers…
…or staging scenarios with our favorite action figures (in this case a stand off between the HUGE Super Bumblebee transformer and a dump truck)
Either way, the kids are using their imaginations for play – which should carry over to their writing and problem solving skills in school.
3. Keep Younger Siblings Busy
One of the hardest changes to our routine is that this little guy is alone for 8 hours a day without his two favorite sidekicks. It is interesting to see him play without his brothers. When he is around the older boys, he focuses on older toys like cars and lightsabers. However, without his brothers at his side, he explores other items.
We received this cute infant playmat that is intended for our friends’ new baby, but this little dude took a major attachment to the Playskool Fold ‘n Go Busy Elephant. He has spent significant time cuddling and kissing the elephant like a stuffed animal, which gives me an idea that this toy will grow with children from the infant tummy time stages through toddlerhood.
He was fascinated by the attachments – which certainly served as a “busy” toy for him!
He loved the mirror, heart with beads in it (and that he could store it in the elephant’s belly pocket!), and the handle ear.
I love that there is a pocket on the back so the whole mat folds into the elephant head and it fits easily into my purse. How great would this be to bring for your baby when on the go?
What do you do with your kids after school that promotes educative play?