I believe that part of our role as parents is to expose our children to a variety of activities to develop a sense of interest and wonder in the world around them. I want my kids to ask questions and be curious. This comes naturally to some parents and others want a bit more of a guide, which is where supplemental learning or “enrichment activities” can be so helpful. The world is changing and evolving and providing your children with opportunities for additional learning is more important than ever. Enrichment activities offer a way to enhance their academic growth, foster a love for learning and develop essential life skills. In this blog, I'll talk about the reasons why incorporating supplemental learning into your child’s life is beneficial and just how easy it can be.
Enhancing Learning Engagement
Learning doesn’t have to be a snooze-fest! You know your child best. You know their interests. Why wouldn’t you expand on that and provide opportunities for further learning? We don’t always have to do math on paper, in a classroom. We can play store, or bake a cake, or estimate the number of ants under that rock! When we show our kids that “boring” topics are applicable in everyday life, they see other applications and opportunities and are more likely to pay attention in those traditional settings.
Reinforcing and Applying Knowledge
“Practice makes perfect” may sound cliche, but it’s so true. Supplemental learning materials provide an opportunity for your child to reinforce and apply the knowledge they’ve gained in school. From workbooks and educational games to online resources and hands-on fun, these materials are the trusty sidekicks that help cement (see what I did there? Cement - concrete paint kits!) concepts and bridge the gap between theory and real-life.
Fostering Creativity and Imagination
Enrichment activities are stepping stones for creativity. Art-based projects, storytelling, and open-ended activities encourage your child to think outside the box. When we extend learning in little ways, it gives your child the opportunity to apply that knowledge and use it in a creative and new way, which helps them solidify the concepts as well.
Catering to Diverse Learning Styles
It takes a long time to discover how you learn best. I can relate, as I feel like I never really learned how I learn, until I was exposed to many different ways (not until I was a young adult). Enrichment activities help you and your child understand this. Whether your child is a visual learner who thrives with colorful visuals, an auditory learner who absorbs information through listening, or a kinesthetic learner who needs to touch and explore, there’s a wealth of activities and materials to explore. Exposing them to more, helps them understand themselves, what they need and how they learn best.
Promoting Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills
When we know more, we ask better questions. Supplemental learning helps your children connect the dots with something they may or may not have had an interest in.
Supporting Multidisciplinary Learning
I love that teaching a topic in multiple ways allows our children to see how one topic can be applied to a variety of situations. Supplemental education encourages your child to explore the interconnectedness of various subjects, weaving together art and science, history and math and literature and nature.
Encouraging Parent-Child Interaction
This is probably my favorite. If you’re someone who is interested in enrichment activities and learning then you’ll be interested in what your child is doing too and you might even learn something along the way. Enrichment activities are the perfect way to bond and spend time with your child. Taking conversation from the classroom and expanding it in your home, shows your child that you care. Taking something of interest to them and showing them ways to elaborate and explore that topic more, shows your child that you care and you’re interested in them.
Promoting Lifelong Learning
Okay, this one’s my favorite too! By incorporating supplemental learning activities, you’re sowing the seeds of a growth mindset and lifelong love for learning. You’re cultivating curiosity, problem solving, critical thinking and a hunger for new knowledge. As parents, we teach through role modeling and if you can be involved in the joy of the adventure of learning, your child will surely soak that in more than anything.
How to implement enrichment activities
That's all great Nikki, but where do I even begin?
There are a lot of easy, small ways to introduce enrichment in your child’s life.
- You can start by just asking questions.
- “Why did you make it that way?”
- “Tell me about what you did there?”
- “What would happen if….(a dinosaur came inside this fort)? Etc
- Find something your child is interested in and…
- Find a craft that relates to it
- Find a math worksheet/or loose parts in the shape of that interest
- Enroll them in an extracurricular activity that has to do with that
- A camp, a day trip, a course, a competition etc
- Find an activity around the house that incorporates that interest
- Make a game for imaginary play and just include that topic: cats, dinosaurs, camping, whatever it is
- Watch a documentary on that topic
- Buy a kit with supplemental activities added on
- One Tree Orchard - paint kits and supplemental booklets (see below)
- How wee Learn - is another great resource I’ve subscribed to for themed activities
- This one is more complex, but you could make themes on your own
- When I make a theme at home, I try to have a balance of crafts, sensory (hands on) activities and active activities.
I hope that helps. Learning and having a love for learning is such an essential skill today. You can help your child develop an intrinsic motivation to learn something through role modeling, asking questions and supporting your child’s interests through enrichment activities.