I’ve been trying to make Gracie’s days a little more structured. She seems to do better with a plan. So even if the plan is as simple as ten minutes of practicing tracing letters and THEN we get a snack, it goes better. My favorite kind of learning ,though, is something a little less structured. Learning on the go! Learning that takes place outside of a classroom, or kitchen table in our case. I love explaining how things work when we are out and about and learning about things we encounter in the world together. Of course this doesn’t always go as well as I would like. Gracie did not magically decide to defy all odds of that precious three year old age and be totally and utterly engaged in whatever I am trying to teach her at any given moment. There are days she really doesn’t want to tell me what that letter on the sign is, but one thing we do have on our side is her wonderful curiosity…and maybe the promise of hot chocolate if we can make it through our on the go school lesson.
On last week’s shopping trip we did a little scavenger hunt. Before we left I had written different grocery items in a notebook and Gracie helped me identify the first letter of all of the items and then trace over that first letter to practice writing it. I made sure to use all 26 letters of the alphabet. If I had planned it out better I might have been able to have grocery items match most of these letters, but I just went for common grocery items I could remember, not necessarily things we needed. When we got to the grocery store we tried to find those items that I had written down or other items that also started with that same letter.
She stayed pretty engaged in this since we were always moving and looking for new things. You can also tailor it to littler ones and look for certain colors, shapes or specific fruits or veggies they may be learning. We also switched it up a bit and practiced numbers by looking at the aisle numbers and trying to identify those as well.
Learning doesn’t require a lot of complicated equipment, workbooks, or fancy outings. Children can learn so much through exploring their every day world. And for this mama, that sounds pretty good!