In the classroom, your little one practices learning through reading, listening, and following directions. These are extremely useful tools, but they only represent one way to learn. It’s important that kids are also given the chance to learn in other ways. For example, exploratory learning is one of the most effective ways for kids to gain new knowledge. This capitalizes on kids’ natural curiosity and lets them make their way to the answer for themselves.
Not only is exploratory learning naturally fun, but it’s also often more likely to stick. When kids discover something for themselves, they’re able to understand it more completely. You can also supplement their discoveries with more structured learning; for example, Fossilicious offers tons of great books and educational material for kids learning about fossils. Here are some more ways your little ones can harness their curiosity and explore the world together.
Start a Fossil Collection
We’d be remiss not to highlight the benefits of fossil research, collection, and study. Kids have a lot to learn from fossils, and they’re not too hard to find out in nature. Pay close attention to the rocks in your yard or on a hike; you might be surprised how many fossils you find on the rocks’ surface! Bring along a bag your child can use to collect small fossils to investigate later on.
You can also help your child create a spreadsheet or collection catalog on their laptop. This is especially useful for fossils you can’t take home with you. Some are on rocks that are much too big to take home, or you might find them in an area that prohibits taking things home. In this case, you can just snap a pic then organize it within your digital collection. As they learn more and more about fossils, they can come back and expand on the information in their catalog; in time, they’ll have quite the chunk of scientific research under their belt!
Dive Into Family History
If your child has an interest in history, take some time to fill out your family tree together. Genealogy is a great hobby for kids because it gives them a way to learn about their personal history as well as a chance to contextualize what they’ve learned in school. For example, if your child is learning about the Second World War, you can bring it to life with a picture of Great-Grandma and her Victory Garden.
You can often find family records going surprisingly far back. This gives you the chance to discuss immigration, settlement, and cultural practices as well. If your family history goes back to Ireland, you could dive into the legend of Stingy Jack and discover the origins of pumpkin carving. Work together to learn about your family’s history and how it fits into the wider world.
Try Out Birdwatching
Kids can learn a lot about the natural world through bird watching. This is a great way to enhance a trip to the park as well as find fun right in your own backyard. Invest in a child-friendly pair of binoculars they can use to get a closer look at feathered friends out in the wild. Help them to identify birds they find, and then together you can look up more about those kinds of birds.
This is an especially fun way to learn about the world during migratory seasons. Spot a bird on its migration journey, then take some time to learn about where it’s coming from, and where it’s going. From there, you can learn more about geography, climate, and more!
Ultimately, it’s all about figuring out what captures your child’s curiosity, and following that path to as much information as you can. Once your little one is the habit of learning through exploring, you can let them take the lead. Soon, they might just be the ones teaching you!
Support your little one’s passions with books, tools, and specimens from Fossilicious!
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