At this age, your child is learning to think, understand and solve problems fairly quickly. He is starting to reason and see things in connections. Children enjoy learning because everything is new to them. They are little Scientists and Mathematicians in their own right. At this age, they are curious about anything and everything.
This is a great time to let them investigate and experiment under your guidance and supervision. Through new experiences, children explore, discover and interact with different people, things, cultures, places and community.
This is where you play the important role of helping your child know more about the world beyond his immediate surroundings. From the local plants and trees you see in your neighbourhood to the great diversity of marine life at the aquarium, it is important to give your child the opportunity to be exposed to different enriching and meaningful experiences.
A trip to the museum or a day at the bird park will let your child appreciate the beauty and diversity of life. Build on your child’s interest and curiosity – let him be inquisitive, and explore life with him. Discover new things together whether it be learning about new facts online, in books or from educational children’s programmes.
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
Cut, paste, and arrange shapes and sizes! Your child will love to create pictures using circles, squares, rectangles and triangles. Using construction paper, cut these out in different colours and sizes. Talk about the different shapes and colours when creating the pictures. You may also ask your child to sort the shapes according to ascending and descending sizes as an additional activity.
Create your own sorting and matching tray! Place different items, such as plastic cutlery, bottle caps, or pasta on a big rectangular surface, such as the lid of a box or table cloth. Place no more than ten items at a time. Remember not to overcrowd the tray. Your child can learn to match, pair and count according to the colours and shapes on the tray.
Be a builder! Collect egg carton boxes, bottles, and tissue boxes and use them to build robots, buildings, cars, or anything your child wants! In the process, your child learns to experiment and assemble things using glue, scissors or scotch tape. This is a great way to learn about shapes and sizes too.
Be a Scientist and Mathematician too! Bake with your child and show her how the ingredients come together when she mixes flour with water, adds colouring and sees the cake rise in the oven. This is a good time to introduce volume and weight such as how many teaspoons of sugar or cups of water to add into the mixing bowl. Count the number of cupcakes you have made together. This is a great way to include numeracy and science into activities.
Cultivate a positive attitude towards the world. For instance, if your child finds ants crawling in a single line fascinating, talk to him about it. Explain to him that ants work in teams, and that what they are doing is similar to queuing up and being orderly. You can also bring your child to the library to find out more about ants. This is a good time to remind him to be gentle to insects and animals.
Discover how and why things happen. What does it mean if the skies are grey? It means it is going to rain. Let your child see the differences between a sunny day and a rainy day. What do you do on rainy days? Do you stay indoors? Try putting on a raincoat and taking a walk in the rain with your child. Breathe the fresh air and listen to the pitter-patter of raindrops over your umbrella. Talk about how rain makes things wet. Ask your child if he prefers wet or dry weather. Knowing your child’s preferences can help you plan activities and outings better.
Explore new places. Bring your child to places such as Little India and Chinatown to learn about the various ethnic groups in our multi-racial society. You can talk about the different skin colours and emphasise the importance of mutual respect for one another. You can also introduce different languages by showing your child how words look in Tamil or Chinese.
Walk with a magnifying glass. Young children love adult instruments. Get a magnifying glass and go exploring in the Botanic Gardens, parks or the reservoirs with your child. You can talk about different plant species and compare shapes and colours of their leaves, the texture of tree bark or how tall or short the tree or plant is. Collect different types of fallen leaves and bring them home to make prints. You can also bring pieces of paper and crayons to make bark etchings. Buy some seeds (such as beans) and grow them at home. It’s never too early to learn about life cycles and plants.
(Image courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore )