Probably one of my favorite things as a mom so far is watching my babies GROW! Even though it’s the definition of bittersweet, it makes me feel so good to watch Leni and Boone growing into their own little people, and learning a ton along the way. This is especially true for Leni Bow: homegirl is sooooo smart, and it makes me so proud to see her love for learning! Even though I attribute a lot of her brains to the people in our lives and family/preschool, we do work with her a lot! I get a lot of questions and messages about our favorite activities (and by NO means am I saying we’re doing it all perfectly–but it does work for LB!) and things to do with her, and wanted to compile those into a blog for YOU and your babies!
Is anyone even surprised that this is the number one thing I recommend?! We spend SO much time outside, and living in the country gives us tonssss of space to make the backyard and woods our living classroom–but you don’t actually need a ton of space to do the same with your babies. You can teach your kiddos SO many valuable things by either creating learning experiences with outdoor things (like gardening, feeding animals and learning about plants/nature) or learning to count with sticks/rocks or by laying on a blanket outside and naming things (tree, cloud, bird etc) and getting her to tell me the letter it starts with. We’ll work on spelling those things she names when she’s a bit older, or pick a word that rhymes with it! Leni also LOVES helping us fill bird feeders and feed deer, so we strap the corn onto the back of her jeep and she drives it over to where we spread it out. Just learning about what different animals eat is new to her and she loves soaking it all up.
I am so grateful to my teacher-mama-friends for this one!! I know there are tonsssss of different kinds of schooling/preschool/education, but I ALSO know things have to be reinforced at home! Kids that are Leni’s age (preschoolers aged 2-4) are like adorable little sponges, and can learn SO much if you’re challenging them and encouraging them in an age-appropriate way! We make sure to buy super educational “toys” for Leni that aren’t truly toys at all–I’ll plan to do a blog with links soon!!
Okay, so this one is tough: because we utilize a lot of screens for educational purposes, I don’t really say to limit “screen time,” but rather what is ON those screens. Again, I’m no educational professional, but I DO know that Leni sees watching a movie or TV show as a treat instead of expecting to be able to do so, and is still absolutely thrilleddddd to see little things on her apps like Homer because she isn’t tired of/over-stimulated by constant exposure to the TV.
I saw something recently that said “there’s no app to replace your lap,” and I LOVE that! We are huge fans of educational anything over here, but old-fashioned reading before bedtime or to take a quiet moment together is such a precious time. Once your kiddo is able to sit for longer periods of time, you can start to read multiple books in one sitting and let them use their fingers to guide across the words–no one is expecting them to actually know how to read, but practicing beforehand is a tool their teachers will thank you for later, and helps to expand their vocabulary!
Educational Apps & Subscriptions
Leni, like any human child, loves “opening presents.” If those presents juuuuuust so happen to be Kiwi Co. (an amazing STEM subscription box that we’re obsessed with!) or HelloDough, then all the better for us both! I know this post sounds a little back-and-forth, but that’s because we’re discovering there’s learning to be done in lots of different ways and lotssss of trial and error, because I am NOT an expert but I’m excited and willing to try lots with my girl! I am constantly researching and discovering new things that will excite Leni and engage her in learning: something I think is super important.
Do you have a little one who loves doing any of these things? What are your tips and tricks?! Share them with me in the comments below!