What do you do with four pent up kids who want to run free after weeks of being trapped inside thanks to old man winter? Take ‘em to the zoo of course !!! Well, that’s what we did this past weekend and let me tell you they LOVED it !!! They got to run around like chickens with their heads cut off burning up all those months of energy they’ve been unable to get out and I got to sneak in a few science lessons without them even realizing it.
That’s what I call a win-win.
So I got to thinking, how else can we sneak a few educational lessons into our kids (especially during those long christmas, spring, summer and other breaks from school they have) without them realizing it? Now some kids (not all but some) want nothing to do with learning or education especially once they are out of school. Tablets, Xbox’s, playstations, phones, and, basically, anything electronic is what they’re consumed with, so, sneaking in a few educational lessons can be tricky. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be fun, though, right?!?!
Here are 5 simple, fun and easy ways I’ve found to sneak in some education without them even knowing it.
We went to the zoo. Okay, you may be saying, but here’s the educational part, each kid picks their favorite animal. We learn as much as we can about each animal there (signs and plaques) and then they’re fired up about it. Then we head to the library and find as many books as we can on each animal. We also put those tablets to some good use and see what more information we can find out by researching there after we read all our books. Next after everything is written down and pictures drawn we do a little presentation for each other and they love it because they get to be center of attention for a little bit and get recognized for their amazing art work and research skills. (Also they are teaching their siblings, as well. See win-win.)
My twelve year old loves to bake, and by loves I mean he absolutely loves to bake. That’s great for me because baking is science and math all in one. Now I’m trying to get all the kids into cooking. There’s reading the recipe to know and understand what we have to do, and, of course, math with measuring and adding 3/4 of a cup of (fill in the blank) * 3. Plus there is the science part on how things react when mixed together. They’re having fun, we all get to eat something yummy and delicious afterwards and they’ve used their brain and learned something.
We love to hike and play in creeks. The great thing about this is the kids are ALWAYS finding things. We let them take one or two interesting items they find home and we use those tablets for looking up and figuring out what kind of rock or shell or leaf or whatever it is they found. After we find what it is we, a lot of times, use those same items for craft or science projects. They’re having fun and don’t even realize what’s happening.
All the kids love to paint and work with clay. We’re trying to buy lots of primary colors and have the kids mix their own colors which is math. They have to decide exactly how much red and how much blue is needed to make purple. How much red and how much white to make the shade of pink they need. Or how much red and yellow to make orange. This one is one of my favorites.
We pick movies for family movie night with different cultures or something the kids might not know about. Finding Nemo was great and so was Moana (we pick movies on Netflix instead of renting or going to the movie theater). The kids like certain things and ask us questions regarding say the ocean, an animal, or a culture and then we say something to the effect of “I’m not sure. Let’s look it up.” and we learn things together. Boy in the Striped Pajamas was a hard one and extremely sad but the kids came out with a better and deeper respect for everything they have.
Learning doesn’t have to be boring or in your face. Sneak it in (just like what we sometimes have to do with veggies lol). They’ll have fun with it but you’ll know just how much you’re actually teaching them plus making great memories together.