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Taking care of young children isn't always a walk in the park. That's why it's so important to have fun and engaging ideas for activities at the ready for your child during those tricky school breaks when you just can't seem to get enough time off work.
At heart, children are naturally curious, easily excited, and constantly eager and willing to explore the world around them. While these important traits are what make them so open to learning new things, it also makes it easy for them to get hard to manage - especially when you're a busy parent working a full-time job and your child is away from school, whether it be for holidays, spring break, or summer vacation.
As a parent, you want the best for your child. Most of the time, that means spending time with them. It means giving your child the company they need and guiding them every step on the way on their path towards active learning and growth. But with the post-pandemic return to the workplace, it's only natural for it to get difficult to make time for your children even if you want to more than anything else. And that's not something to feel guilty about! Instead, you can seize this opportunity to encourage engaging, interactive activities for your child that are close to one hundred percent independent.
Of course, you'll have to support your child for them to get started on the road to independence, but independent play is a fantastic way to teach your child important life skills like decision-making and problem-solving while also allowing you some much-needed alone time as a parent.
Independence is one of the most crucial qualities a child can build upon for the future. It prepares them throughout their gradual maturity and makes sure they're ready and raring to go when it's time to enter university or the workforce. It promotes characteristics like motivation, patience, and perseverance, and helps improve a child's self-esteem and confidence in themsevles and their abilities.
While it may seem daunting, teaching independence to your children can absolutely start at an early age - you just have to make sure to keep a few key things in mind as a parent to give your child the best start they can get.
1. Guide them through their first steps. It's not a great idea to just throw your child right into things without providing them with support first. Make sure your child knows what they're doing in the activities you choose together, and spend a little time going through things with them so they're on the right path.
2. Remember to prioritize safety and comfort. Never try to force your child into doing something they don't want to do! Instead, select activities together so they get to pick interesting, fulfilling ones that they enjoy. And, of course, always maximize their safety - swap scissors with kid-friendly ones if you're doing arts and crafts, and double-check any toys and games you buy for potential hazards.
3. Don't be afraid to let them explore. Let your child try things out for themselves. They'll never be able to learn the importance of independence if you pamper and wait on them all the time. Give your child the space they need to have fun by themselves while ensuring they're safe and comfortable as well.
4. Encourage active communication. When your child has successfully completed an activity or program on their own, praise them! Let them know you're proud of them, and ask them what they think they did well and what they'd like to do better next time. Active encouragement and support from parents is one of the best motivators for children to improve.
With all of that being said, here are 10 suggestions for independent, educational activities - ones that can help your child learn and grow even when you're not there to accompany them along the way.
Puzzles are an amazing way to intellectually stimulate children while also enabling them have fun. By picking out an age-appropriate puzzle for your child, you can offer them an engaging challenge that allows them to experience the self-accomplishment that comes with solving a difficult problem.
Puzzles teach problem-solving, critical thinking, and some basic logical reasoning as well, and they also encourage creativity in children by letting them create a beautiful piece of art at the end. Just make sure the puzzle you choose for your child isn't too easy or too difficult for them - it has to be just right!
Arts are one of the core subjects all children learn at an early age, and for good reason, too - research has shown that education in the arts fosters creativity, ingenuity, and the innovative way of thinking that's necessary for excelling in the workplace. Whether it be a quick and simple piece of origami or some more time-consuming, detailed paper machee, arts and crafts can be a great option for inspiring your child's imagination and letting them express their individuality through easy-to-obtain materials.
DIY kits are mini learning experiences that can be delivered through a neat, all-inclusive package. From building model cars to setting up their own colourful chemistry experiments, DIY kits help your children explore new and exciting concepts in a fully independent manner.
At Inspirely | STEAM Education, we understand the tried-and-true benefits of DIY kits for kids, and we offer a range of unique bundles that engage your child with hands-on education of core subjects like engineering, science, and technology. Knowledge in these areas are crucial in our technology-driven society, and the interactive nature of DIY kits are a fantastic way of teaching them to children.
Reading is critical to a child's education. It develops communication skills, improves general knowledge, teaches crucial lessons, and - most of all - it's a flexible and convenient source of easy-to-obtain entertainment. Make sure to choose books in genres and on topics that your child has expressed genuine interest in, and if all goes well, you'll have the pleasure of watching them become engrossed in the wonder of a good book.
If you're not sure what books to choose for your child, educational ones like kid-friendly encyclopedias are always a great option, as are short novels with fantastical settings that can transport your child to another world.
After-school programs and extracurricular classes are awesome for children whose parents have the time and energy to pack their bags, shuttle them back and forth, and prepare all the materials they need - but for parents without, it's a hassle that may not be worth the effort.
That's where online classes like the ones Inspirely offers come in. These programs are led by top educators who know how to make them just as engaging and entertaining as in-person classes, minus the hassle of preparation and transportation. Your child will be able to enjoy the experience of a hands-on, digital class from the comfort and familiarity of their own home.
When it comes to finding activities to keep your children busy, the all-powerful Internet is an ever-useful tool! Search for and pick out some educational videos for your child to watch on their own, from short, bite-size clips that teach important scientific concepts or kid-friendly documentaries that explore intriguing topics like space or world history. Most of these resources are convenient - they can be shown on any device and in any location too, provided your child has a good pair of headphones for noisier environments.
Exercise doesn't always have to be closely monitored and supervised by adults. If your child is old enough to be ready to take on the challenge of exercising on their own, there are a wealth of kid-friendly workout videos on YouTube that can get children's blood pumping and let them have fun while doing it. Why not let your child try some of these out to develop their independence and fulfill the 60 minutes of physical activity that young people need every day?
Journals progress your child's communication skills and offers them a safe and personal space for their self-expression. Research has shown that children who keep a journal demonstrate stronger reading and writing abilities, improves their attention to detail, and encourages them to explore and process their thoughts and feelings.
It's also a wonderful way for your child to practice gratitude for the little things in their life and keep a record of their most precious memories with friends and family - and best of all, journaling is an independent activity by nature, so it's a great way to fill up your child's time when you're not home.
STEAM education involves a unique approach to learning that lets children explore the five crucial subjects of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. With a focus on hands-on, practical education, it exposes your child to new knowledge in the most interactive way possible - and letting your child explore STEAM by encouraging them to build and create models and experiments fosters their curiosity for the world around them.
If you're not sure what types of STEAM-oriented projects your child can build, try looking for models of airplanes or famous structures or even Lego sets and 3D puzzles. No matter what your child is interested in, these ideas are a surefire way to get them engaged in STEAM education.
The pandemic may be much better than it was two years ago, but many parents' top priority is still keeping their children safe and healthy. Much like online classes, online summer camps delivered through the screen can help with that, especially throughout a longer period of time - they provide your child with interactive, imaginative programming that they can participate in entirely on their own from the peace of their room.
At Inspirely | Steam Education, our mission is to empower young minds through flexible, high-quality education that helps ease children into the digital world, and we offer a wide range of remote camps that touch on all sorts of STEAM-oriented topics. Whether it be through a guided virtual tour through the solar system or coding classes that introduce children to 3D animation, we provide a fascinating challenge for every child, and we strive to do it in a way that ensures their comfort and safety while also cultivating their independence.