Learning begins long before a child can look at books or hold a pencil. Learning starts at birth and parents play a key role in their child’s ability to absorb information and develop emotionally and intellectually. Early home learning covers a broad range of methods and activities that parents can actively carry out with their child. Such activities not only prepare youngsters for school but for life in general.
Talking, listening and responding to a child from a very young age will create a positive home learning environment. Parents should also engage in shared thinking as a normal part of daily life, such as describing, explaining, speculating, making connection and open questioning.
This positive home learning environment should include plenty of ‘traditional’ learning methods, such as reading with your child, practicing the alphabet, adding up and plenty of arts and crafts.
The importance of arts and crafts
Experimenting and exploring through art and crafts can be especially effective in children as it helps them develop and fine tune skills required for communication and self-expression.
The importance for young children to participate in art activities such as painting is highlighted by the fact that research in early childhood art education has enjoyed increased attention in recent years. Colourfully and creatively filling a blank piece of paper with their own work can help build confidence in a young child. The process of painting can also be a soothing sensory experience for babies and toddlers and helps them transform feelings and ideas into visual form.
Paint is an inviting, accessible and absorbing material for young children and, with parental supervision, can be used from a very young age. Given that painting has been long been proven to help a child’s development, its extensive accessibility and the fact that little ones seem almost inherently drawn to paint, parents should encourage their children to paint.
There are numerous aids and accessories that parents can buy to encourage their youngsters to paint. Easels are a great way to let a child explore and develop their artistic skills and keep mess to a minimum. This traditional art accessory typically comprises two sides which makes it ideal for group play as both sides can be used simultaneously. Take, for example, the Millhouse Traditional Wooden Easel. This sturdy wooden easel includes a chalkboard and a whiteboard and encourages your child’s imagination and creativity to thrive as they paint, draw and learn.
From spooky pumpkins at Halloween to egg-adorned baskets at Easter time, young children simply can’t get enough of making things. As well as keeping a child entertained and absorbed for hours, tasks such as cutting out shapes with scissors, tearing paper, gluing items to other items and drawing around shapes will help develop fine motor skills in children. Fine motor skills develop as the neurological system matures and involves the development of the small muscles that enable babies and young children to perform certain tasks such as cutting out, drawing and fastening shoe laces.
These skills can be enhanced through home learning by encouraging children to make things. It is advisable to have a fairly comprehensive collection of accessories for making things in a convenient location in the home. For example, scissors should be present in your child’s craft collection as long as they are designed to be safe for little hands. Scissors such as the Melissa & Doug Child Safe Scissors Set are ideal for art and craft projects. This colourful pack includes two pairs of scissors which are sized perfectly for small children’s hands. One pair is to cut straight lines and the other to cut zigzag lines so that youngsters can really experiment and get creative when cutting out.
Beads and jewellery
Bead sets and make-your-own jewellery can be great learning accessories for children. These colourful sets provide children with hours of creative fun. As well teaching youngsters about numbers, patterns and sequencing, beading and jewellery sets promote shape and colour matching skills as well as hand-eye coordination. For younger children, sets that comprise of bigger, chunkier pieces are available. Tidlo Nature Lacing Beads, for example, comprise of chunky colourful shapes for children to lace and thread together. Made from wood this bead set is easy to handle and safe for small hands. In threading the pieces through the lace, this craft set develops manipulative skills and promotes creativity and imagination – the perfect craft for inspiring home learning.
Learning with children should take place in a fun, inspiring and imaginative environment. There are a myriad of art and craft materials and accessories available to help you create a stimulating setting to develop and nurture your child’s cognitive, motor and creative skills.
For a range of high quality art and craft accessories such as easels, play tables and colouring packs, visit page. Also go to our boards for more inspiring ideas.