Children learn best when they are naturally curious. It is amazing to watch how they concentrate when they are engaged in activities inspired by their own actions and imaginations. As they experiment with materials, they improve their cognitive functioning. (What if I put this here-will it fall down? What if I make the base bigger-will it stay up?) It looks like play, but it is truly active learning. Active learning requires brains to be challenged, to problem-solve, and to learning something new. It requires concentration. This happens naturally when children (adults too) are interested, and all they need to support this focus is some free time, interesting materials, and a little guidance to get their brains ignited.
You do not have to spend a lot of money to support this at home. It does not involve Amazon Prime.
The beauty of self-directed play with children is they can learn an enormous amount from every day items you probably have lying around the house right now- items like tape, sticks, cardboard boxes, play doh, plastic containers with lids, markers, string, etc.
You may have to guide their thinking and jumpstart their imaginations, at first, but after some practice, you’ll be able to sit back and watch as their brilliant, little minds take over.
Here are some prompts to get you started:
- How can we build a zoo for all these little animals?
- Let’s build a rocket ship to reach the moon.
- Help me build a castle for the princesses.
- Let’s build together. What would you like to create?
Help us grow this list of prompts. Any other ideas?