Around the house I’ve set up various areas which I call Exploration Stations. We have a cupboard with science stuff, a drawer with creative writing stuff, an art cupboard, a nature backpack, an astronomy backpack, then there’s cooking, water play, playdough and puzzles, plus more.
The kids are allowed to use these stations in their free time and also a couple of times a month we have Exploration Day. I’m a believer in rigorous organized academics. But kids also need time to learn the things that really interest them.
I have one son who for quite awhile was intensely interested in dragons. He wanted to be a paleontologist and discover dragon bones. He has decided now to be a rocket designer and astronaut so he wants to study rockets and space ships. Exploration Days have given him set aside semi-structured time to pursue his interests.
Another son loves drawing and spends most of his time doing art during Exploration Day. The younger ones have no focus yet, but have fun exploring and getting things out that they normally would not.
Even if you don’t set up a day (or an hour or two) for exploration, having specific stations around the house in areas that specifically appeal to your kids can facilitate their love of learning.
Be creative in coming up with ideas. Here are some of mine:
- computer programing (check out http://www.alice.org/ )
- math toys/games
- puzzles/lacing shapes
- playdough/sand box/ water and containers in a sink
- specific themes like Pirate, Colonial America, Ancient Egypt, etc.
Have fun exploring.