Like any other parent, I have always wanted my child to perform well in academics, obtain higher grades and progress through the ranks or classes with flying colors.
But there is something that most parents tend to miss – the Importance of Outdoor Play. Think about it – Does Education or learning only happen in the classrooms? Can children learn only from the prescribed textbooks and academic curriculum? Can the syllabus or the topics mentioned in any of your child’s academic booked teach him the importance of teamwork, the value of friendship or any other life skills? I hardly think so.
There is no doubt that this traditional approach to learning is important, as it gives our children an opportunity to explore a wide range of “subjects”. But life lessons or in other words, “How to face the real-world situations”, requires a practical exposure to a number of experiences which cannot be done within the confinement of a classroom.
My 7-year-old daughter spends most of her time either in her school or at home with me. So technically, these are the only two places she can learn from. Same goes for every child from age group 4 to 10 years.
So how can we as parents encourage or enhance their “real-world” the short answer-> OUTDOOR LEARNING?!
Here some steps that I have been following with my daughter, for almost a year and they really seem to work for us:
An hour in the park
During the evening time, I usually take my daughter to the nearby park. There I would encourage her to play with other children of her own age, and let her make new friends, with whom she can play and learn to develop and share emotional values. Sometimes I would even tell her to go look for a special kind of flower or leaf so as she can learn about nature. I would then share the importance of protecting plants, trees and other components of nature.
Monthly family outings
We often plan family outings to places such as fire-station where she can meet the real-life heroes so that she can learn about the importance of nature. Additionally, we would visit museums and other monuments, so she can get a better taste of historical events.
There are several popular Kids magazines like INTELLYJELLY that offers a number of interesting activities that not only are a fun experience for the kids but provide them with a variety of life lessons. The magazine would present stories with morals or lessons, dialogues with focus on describing the importance of critical elements like friendship, trust, eco-friendly behavior, teamwork etc. Such lessons increase the consciousness of kids in a fun-oriented manner.
Additionally, these popular magazines for kids offer a number of activities like connect the dots, crosswords, puzzles, mazes etc. that help in enhancing the problem-solving abilities of the kids. Even schools can opt for such sessions involving these monthly books for kids in between their study sessions to enhance the learning aspect in an interesting manner.
We often indulge in role-playing games, inclined towards giving a life lesson to the kid. There are a Number of Dialogues or plots Available in Magazines like iNTELLYJELLY that can be used. Even the kids will find it interesting while reading out those dialogues in real.
What I have learned is:
Learning is an interactive experience, which cannot be contained only in the boundary walls of a classroom with a load of books, notebooks, tests, and quizzes. Rather it is a lifelong process of gaining crucial knowledge elements from every situation you are put in.