Teachers have a “toolbox” full of ideas on how to engage and encourage student learning. They have many ideas and tools ready to go so when students are ready to learn they are ready to teach. Students all have different learning styles and teachers need to be ready to differentiate learning to meet all of their needs. Parents have an infinite number of opportunities to help their children grow, and learn, and having a toolbox of your own can make it fun, and easy, to engage your children in learning while playing.
Some of my favorite things are Play-Doh, markers and crayons, but that is just the beginning. Mad Libs are my all time favorite! Kids of all ages can enjoy these and get hours of laughs. They reinforce parts of language, and while older kids can fill them in all on their own, younger kids can help their parents and then hear a hilarious story that they created with their own ideas. They are great for road trips, car rides, and rainy days. Brain Quest is another company that makes fun learning tools that can be used in a game format for kids of all ages. The cards are connected so they can be taken in the car, on an airplane, to the doctor office to pass time while waiting, or simply to your comfy couch where you can ask questions like “what word is the opposite of yes”, or “how many days in a week”. It’s a great way to encourage social interactions, practice asking and answering questions, and building your child’s confidence and knowledge as they respond to the questions.
A great tool for your child’s toolbox is a diary! Writing is talk written down, so after a vacation, or an exciting day or activity, have them tell you about their favorite part and then have them draw a picture and/or write about it. It will create a hard copy of their memories that they have created themselves.
Everyone, no matter what your job, needs tools. So grab a bag, fill up it with some “tools” and be ready for fun no matter where you are!
Dana Gorman is a wife, a mother to three amazing sons and a full-time Speech Language Pathologist. She works in the school setting with students aged 4-18. She loves her family, her job and toys!