One of the most valuable things we as parents can provide for our children is a supportive and stimulating environment. Whether you afford just a few minutes a day or take a whole weekend; there’s a range of activities you can do with your child. Activities designed to be both beneficial and fun. With a little thought you can ensure your child’s progress during their foundation years in education.
Having 3 full-grown off-spring of my own, I’ve already been through the mill once on this score. (Fun times indeed). Now that I have 3 grand-children, I may be a step removed this time round; but my interest and tinkle-pinked-ness, at being able to pass on a little knowledge, has definitely been re-kindled. There’s nothing more rewarding than getting a child to think and to question the world around them. (My personal favorite is to tease, then sit back and watch as they figure out Grandad’s just being silly ;o)
Children need to be curious and eager to learn. Your child is more likely to succeed if he/she learns to ask questions, think independently and be creative. A child needs to be curious about the world, interested in how things work and should learn how to creatively approach problems. (Next time your child asks a question, resist the urge to answer immediately. Try asking instead: “What do you think”? or “Where do you think we can find the answer”? By doing this, you can encourage them to think for themselves and help build their self-esteem).
With so much potential for intellectual seed planting, in a child’s formative years, tho’…I really didn’t know where to start or which particular app to tackle first. (Excited? I should cocoa)! Whilst home computers were around when my kids were knee-high; we certainly didn’t have access to such a neat technological package as the iPad. Now that such attractive gizmos are available, it’s more likely the little darlings will sit still long enough to use one. (I have a few friends who’s iPhones actually spend more time in the kids’ hands than in the parents’ ;o)
It’s an accepted fact that reading to (and later with) your child on a regular basis helps with language development. Introducing them to stories & nursery rhymes, then engaging them in discussions about the subject matter, can have a profound affect on their reasoning and verbal skills. But there were so many fantabulous books out there, that I assume you guys already have that one covered. (Though I must admit: this is an area I’d like to revisit, at some point. Sounds like more fun than I could shake a stick at).
Whilst preparing children socially and emotionally, through contact with others, is important. Teaching them respect for (non-family) authority figures; ability to control their impulses; playing nice and sharing with other children etc. And whilst some of life’s lessons can certainly be gleaned from the stories you select; I’d guess, mostly, they’ll come from your child’s real-world interactions. I’d suggest this is one area where sitting your child down with an iPad on their lap is not really going to help very much. So scratch that as an area for me to investigate. ;o)
Your child also needs to acquire motor skills before starting school/kindergarten. These include large muscle activities necessary for: walking/running in a straight line and e.g. throwing a ball. (Obvious candidates for outdoor activities; so grab a ball whilst the sun is shining). Plus small muscle skills, such as: drawing, coloring, cutting and beginning handwriting. (Typical indoor activities).
Which lead me neatly to your child’s cognitive & intellectual skills; knowledge of colors, shapes, numbers and at least some of the letters of the alphabet (e.g. particularly the letters in your child’s name). This is the area I eventually chose to concentrate my first efforts on. Our first preschool application is entitled: Li’l Tracer and essentially focuses on your child’s ability to trace along a dotted line with his/her finger.
Hand writing is an important skill in a child’s development. Starting with shapes, to help develop hand eye co-ordination. Then moving to letters and numbers, where focus should be on consistent ordering of the strokes in a given character. Just follow the guides provided and trace the paths with a finger. As with many other skills, don’t rush…and remember: practice makes perfect.
Encourage your child to repeat letter names and sounds (or phonics). (Phonics are equally important as they’re a precursor to grouping individual letter sounds into whole words: c-a-t).
Also, don’t pass up the opportunity to discuss the images provided: shape, color, number and add some interesting facts about real-world objects. Whilst they’re sitting still for a change, it doesn’t harm to wedge a little extra knowledge into their heads.
If you’d like to download a copy, please click here and head over to the AppStore.