Just like a carpenter needs his hammer to accomplish his work, kids' learning tools are essential to their job of playing and learning.
Kids' Learning Tools
Though kids' learning tools are not as obviously identified as the tools for a mechanic or plumber, the necessities for their education are everywhere. Your child learns through everything he does. As a baby, he learns cause and effect every time he shakes a rattle and it makes a noise. As a toddler on the verge of walking he learns balance every time he takes a step. The zoo and natural park are perfect kids' learning tools because they teach about animals and nature.
Learning tools do not need to be an item. Places and situations make the best lessons. Take advantage of a trip to the grocery store to learn about planning a menu. Let him help in the kitchen to teach math skills. Even cleaning his room teaches life skills.
The easiest way to begin understanding kids' learning tools is by the educational toys they play with. When shopping for toys, you want to purchase products with the most learning value. This does not necessarily mean you want to bring home an electronic toy that gives the answer at a click of a button.
Kids' learning tools are simple. Look for child driven toys that can be played with in multiple ways. Here is a list of toys every child should have in his toolbox:
- Blocks and building toys
- Shape sorters (toddlers)
- Rattles (first year)
- Open ended games (the rules can be adjusted to fit your child's age and level)
- Musical instruments
- Stuffed animals
- Toy trains, cars and/or dolls
Next time you find yourself shopping for toys, ask yourself:
- Will my child be able to play with this toy in more than one way?
- Is this a child driven toy?
- Do the batteries enhance the toy, or just make it louder and more expensive? (Many toys are focused on your pocketbook. Often times, your child will be happier making the "moo" sound himself rather then pressing a button.)
- Is it durable?
- What will my child learn from this toy?
- Will I play with my child using this tool? (Though children need independent play, it is important to involve yourself in his everyday play. Look for toys you want to play with, too.)
Another example of kids' learning tools are children's books. Books open a whole new world to your child and teach him about both familiar and unfamiliar situations, people, animals and events. Make sure you purchase age appropriate books. Don't expect your three-year-old to treat books gently. His curiosity may incline him to take a great book with flaps and rip them off to see what will happen. Meanwhile, a seven-year-old is ready for books with challenging facts and entertaining plots.
As your child begins to read, encourage this challenge with easy readers and phonics books. However, do not stop reading to your child. Hearing your voice and spending time together is another tool that your child will take with him forever.
If your art museum has a children's hand-on gallery, a trip to the art center can be both educational and fun. Children need to express themselves. Art provides kids' learning tools of creativity. He doesn't have to be a budding Picasso to learn from art. Your child will learn different ways to express ideas, appreciate the beauty of the world around him and have a fun outlet of painting, gluing, and drawing. His hand-eye coordination will also improve as he works on projects.
For many children, the best learning tools are items you find around your home! Every child needs a box or two to transform into a house, rocket, car or train. Pots and pans make the best musical instruments. Plastic cups can create a whole city of towers.
Remember that kids' learning tools are the knowledge we give them through teaching, activities, and toys. There is no reason to spend a ton of money on making your child into a genius. Instead, encourage his skills and talents and take advantage of daily opportunities to teach him about both social and academic subjects.