This post was written by Creative QT Founder, Dana Sue Hinkle. To learn more about the Hinkle family and the heart behind Creative QT click here.
I am constantly on a search for simple ideas to make learning more fun. Note the word SIMPLE. I want to be the mom with the cute cutouts and all ... and sometimes I do come through. But, most of the time I need a quick win. Which is why I love our Funfield City Play Rug!
My first grader is learning about directions (North, Southwest, East, etc.) and the map in the back of his book was doing everything, but holding his attention. So I quickly wrote up four slips of paper with a “N”, “E”, “S”, and “W” on them and put them around the edge of the rug. I gave him a car and asked him to drive to different areas of town using directions. Example: “Drive to the north edge of town.” “Drive to the southwest corner of town and tell me what is something we could do there.” “Which direction would we have to drive to get to the water park from where we are?” You get the idea. I got to review his understanding of his map skills and he got to “play” the whole time. Win-win!
We are also working on left and right so I would simply shout out different directions I wanted him to drive his car. “Take a left, then a right. Where did we end up?” Yet another easy way to work on his understanding of left and right.
On a preschool level, I just made everything much more simple. I’d make up stories to have our three-year old drive her car to. Example: “ I just broke my leg at the park, could you drive me to the hospital? Start at the park and drive me to the hospital.” “Man, am I hungry. Where could we go to get something to eat?” “Mr. Z works at the fire station. Should we drive over to go visit him?” Nothing earth shattering, but she feels included in school. I also recommend doing multi-step directions to see how many steps they can track at once. “Let’s start at the pool, next we’ll go to the fountain and throw a coin in, and then let’s go buy some donuts.”
Another fun activity, that is sure to get them laughing is to have YOU be the driver and they give the directions. (Make sure you drive fast and swerve a lot!) Start with something like, “Church just got out, tell me the best direction to get to the beach.” Then either using N,E,S,W directions or Left/Right directions have them instruct you to your destination. It is fun for them to be the teacher.
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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