When is the right age to start teaching your little ones at home? I honestly don’t believe you can start too early. Babies start learning from the moment they leave your womb. They are watching and listening to everything we say and do. Early learning is crucial to children’s childhood development and it should start way before they are ready to go to school. By incorporating these activities for kids from an early age your child will be well prepared for school from the beginning and not playing catch up. In this list of home learning activities for kids you will find activities for toddlers, preschool and school aged children. I have loved starting early learning at home with my 4 kids and it is my hope to inspire you to do the same. Moms, you are your child’s very first teacher, it’s never too early to start!
10 Home Learning Activities
Building blocks are one of the best home learning activities for kids of all ages. Children can gain so much from just playing with these. Hand-eye coordination, concentration, shape recognition and even fine motor skills can all be developed with this one activity. Building blocks are also a lot of fun, it won’t feel like “learning” at all! As your child gets older they can graduate from the mega building blocks and wooden ones to more difficult ones such as Legos.
Learning games are amazing at home learning activities. You can really get creative to make up some fun ones for you and your kiddos. I absolutely love flash cards! I’ve printed free printable ones and laminated them. We have letters, numbers, shapes and animals! For older children you can change these to geography, anatomy or science. Get creative! You don’t have to just use flashcards. These games can be done with stuffed animals, blocks, globes and even science skeletons that show human anatomy.
Phonics Basics as a Home Learning Activity
Learning phonics is so important to children’s education and development. The earlier you introduce this to your child, the farther ahead of the game they will be! Teaching your child to read will be one of the best things you do for them. Reading starts with understanding phonics. I love the songs that you can find on early learning YouTube channels. As your child hears these they will begin to recognize them and then even repeat them. Then you can move on to ask them what word starts with a, b, or c and so on. You can even have them go on a hunt to find things that start with a particular letter. I am also a big fan of alphabet books that give different pictures and words for each letter of the alphabet.
For the older kids you can create challenges as a home learning activity. My girls love having spelling bees against each other. No one wants to lose! This motivates them to increase their vocabulary and spelling skills. I also like having reading challenges. For example, I will tell them to read 2 or 3 chapter books in a certain amount of time and then they will get a prize.
I know you maybe asking…writing? Really? But yes, writing! Writing is another key skill that your child will need, so why not start teaching them now?! One of our favorite home learning activities for kids is practicing writing. When your wee one is little, this can be introduced by allowing them to color, paint or play with play-doh. As they grow you can give them worksheets with the letters printed and they can trace them. Then gradually move on toward printing on their own.
For older kids encouragement to always be improving their writing is very important. They can help you write out a grocery or to do list.
Allowing your child to help you in the kitchen is a fantastic way to spend some quality time together as well as a home learning activity. They will be able to use their senses to see what items smell, feel and taste like. Being in the kitchen is a wonderful opportunity to throw in a color or phonics lesson.
Next, let’s talk about the older kids. Asking them to help in the kitchen is one way I get my older ones to get away from the screen. (Remember to watch their screen time!) Inviting them to help gives them a sense of belonging and importance. This is also a chance for you to throw in a science or math lesson!
Puzzles are wonderful learning opportunities! Benefits of children playing with puzzles include: hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, adaptable thinking, as well as math skills and developing persistence. I love to watch my 3 year old fit the wrong piece over and over again and not give up! When he finally gets it, we can celebrate! Wooden puzzles are great for younger learners and as they get older they are able to complete puzzles with more and smaller pieces.
Sensory Crafts as a Home Learning Activity
Sensory activities play an important role in children’s cognitive development. They also help develop fine and gross motor skills. Some of my favorite sensory crafts include: sand bins, orbeez bins and water bins. My boys always have a blast with these. They play for hours!
For the sand bin I use a large plastic container and pour in the sand. Inside, I hide items such as rocks, seashells and plastic crabs and turtles. I also have buckets, pals and shovels for them to use.
For the orbeez bin, I have multi-colored orbeez inside a large plastic container. I place toy fish, dolphins, sharks and sea plants. I ask them to go “diving” to find the items in the bottom.
Other sensory crafts can include: soap, bubbles, foam, pom poms, pasta. The list is endless! Get creative and have some sensory fun!
There is really no preparation needed for math learning activities. Math is ALL around us! You can have your toddler or preschooler count the apples or bananas in the fruit bowl. They can count the Cheerios at snack time. The opportunities are endless. For older kids there are many different ways to incorporate these activities and without paper and pencil.
We are sports fans so one way we have a “math lesson” with our girls is to ask them whose winning and by how many points. This is an awesome way to see how their adding and subtracting skills are coming along without pencil or paper. There are also many math apps or games that can help with different math skills.
Toys are what I like to call “spontaneous” home learning activities. If you notice your little one playing, it’s easy to get creative and make it learning time. If your toddler boy is playing with race cars or monster trucks, you can count them, identify their color or size or even count how many tires they have. You can do this with just about any toy you catch your little ones playing with.
Reading Time as a Home Learning Activity
Reading time may not seem like a “true” home learning activity, but it really is. When we read to our children we are activating their concentration and listening skills as well as teaching them new vocabulary. As your child learns new vocabulary their language skills are enhanced. These are very important benefits, but none of these top the bonding that happens when parents read to their children.
I really hope this list of 10 home learning activities has been helpful. Remember mom, you are your child’s first teacher. Try to use some or all of these activities to start your child’s early learning. You maybe a mom that has already started and needed some fresh ideas. Use this list or get creative by making them your own!
Now let’s get the early learning started!