3 Simple Ways to Turn Everyday Tasks into Learning Opportunities

Recently my family subscribed to a meal subscription service just for fun. A cooler box arrived on my doorstep with the recipes and ingredients, all labeled and measured, for two delicious meals.

While we still had to do the actual cooking and cleaning up, it was a nice break from figuring out what to fix for dinner and a fun way to try new dishes. Best of all, it was a great opportunity to include my kids in the kitchen. My son told me afterward that cooking together was his favorite part of the day.

Though my children are no longer “little,” I was reminded of the many ways that everyday tasks are the most simple yet powerful learning laboratory. All it takes from us is a bit of mindfulness and patience.

Here are three simple ideas for turning the work you already do into a learning experience for your kids.

 

1. Hang out in the kitchen.

I’ll be honest. My young mom visions of all three kids baking cookies with me in the kitchen were short-lived.

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Between the toddler launching handfuls of flour onto the floor and the older two fighting over who got to mix in the chocolate chips, togetherness in the kitchen was disasterous, an activity best reserved for super laid-back moms and / or super-compliant children.

I quickly learned that one child-helper in the kitchen at a time worked best for everyone. It’s still a rule we abide by today, even though they’re older and no longer throwing food.

Cooking together is a fantastic way to do math {measuring, counting, fractions}, study real-life chemistry {yeast makes things rise}, and learn about different types of foods and the places they come from. Don’t overcomplicate things. Include your children in a way that works for you, for the child, and for their stage of development. There’s all sorts of learning and enrichment that can take place in the kitchen, even if it’s just for five minutes during dinner prep!

 

2. Laundry

It’s a necessary evil. Why not redeem this dreaded task by making it educational? Young children can learn:

  • Sorting by color
  • Sorting by type
  • Taking folded stacks to family member’s rooms

 

We forget that a two or three year old can easily sort socks and make an actual contribution to laundry time. Best of all, they love being a big helper!

 

3. Driving

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No, I’m not talking about teaching your young child pre-driving skills. But what about using the time you spend in the car with your kids? You literally have a captive audience so why not take advantage and talk about the things you see? Trucks, road signs, sight words, flowers, farms, unique buildings, etc.

It’s tempting to hand over the iPhone for the sake of quiet and entertainment. That can be okay but it’s also important that children learn to stare out the window and engage with the world around them, having conversations with adults about what they see and hear and love. This is how they learn and it’s important that we be available as parents and caregivers to help them on their developmental journey.

Audiobooks are another great tool to keep in the car. It’s a way of reading to your children even if you’re not the one doing the reading. {Your local library branch can keep you stocked with new selections and it’s FREE.} We can’t possibly underestimate the power of reading in the brain development of the young child!

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At Pickens County First Steps, we want to be a voice of practical encouragement, not impossible standards. The best and most natural ways of nurturing the young child are the everyday ways — reading and routines, listening and loving, meeting basic needs and involving our children in the tasks we already do.

Keep up the great work, parent superheroes! And let us know how we can help support you in your efforts.

 


 

 

What are YOUR favorite everyday tasks to tackle with kids?

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You Might Also Enjoy

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Why Reading to Your Young Child Matters More Than You Think {plus a few helpful tips}

A FREE and Simple Resource for Building Literacy in Your Young Child


Pickens County First Steps is also on Pinterest. Find great ideas for nurturing the young children in your life!

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By Marian Vischer, Communications Coordinator
Images are public domain.
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