Foster children’s learning with fun and affordable mini stations set up in your home. These ideas work great for stay-at-home parents, homeschoolers, or those seeking an alternative from electronic devices. Interactive learning helps build developmental skills and can also be enjoyable for not only children but adults. After a bit of guidance from an adult, learning centers will provide hours of opportunities for independent exploration.
You can use storage bins, boxes, or safe shelving to create in-home learning stations to engage children. Identify the bins with pictures or wording, so you and the children know what they contain. You can use clear plastic containers, which will be easier to identify. Storing items in bins makes for an easier clean-up and will keep your home more organized. Browsing garage sales and thrift stores are great options to find inexpensive books, magazines, games, and props to stock your learning centers.
Green Dragon has dozens of parent and teacher resource books to help you develop at-home age-appropriate activities for children. Browse our Early Childhood Education Books by age and subject matter to customize your in-home learning stations.
Here are some ideas for in-home learning centers.
- Art Center:
Children can channel their creativity when they want with an art learning station that has ready-to-use supplies. You can store markers, crayons, different paper types, child-safety scissors, and painting supplies in a bin. Green Dragon Books has a collection of Art, Music, and Creativity early learning resource books. Children can take on fun arts and crafts activities at home with ideas in these trusted resource books.
- Mini Library:
Kids who have not reached the reading milestone still love to flip through pages of books and newspapers. Grabbing books shows an interest and eagerness to learn how to read when ready. Having a mini library in the home will be an area children can go to and browse. Place various fiction and non-fiction multiple books and magazines on a bookshelf or in a bin. Having access to books entertains children while developing multiple skills. Change out books to stimulate interest and remain age-appropriate as reading skills develop. Check out our Literacy and Language book selection to enhance your children’s learning.
- Writing Station:
Keep pens, pencils, markers, notebooks, and paper of all sizes to let children scribble and doodle. Different ink colors allow them to show their creative side, and they can write when they desire to.
- Building Blocks:
Having blocks and toys in a storage container helps develop fine and gross motor skills and critical thinking. Blocks, puzzles, and games give an excellent opportunity for play and learning. Children will get to use their imagination and determination. If your children love maps or globes, Green Dragon carries Social Studies and Diversity resource books.
- Pretend Play:
Keeping old clothes and accessories on hand for pretend play lets children dress up and act. They may want to act like adults and play out imaginary roles. Pretend play shows innocence and will entertain you since adulthood is nothing that they think it is.
- Outdoor Play:
No matter what climate you live in, children love the outdoors year-round. In the heat, the simplicity of sprinkling hose water delights and cools down children. In the snow, they can build snowmen or go sledding. Going for a walk or having children help with gardening keeps them active while developing motor skills.
- Music and Dance:
You can play music for children to listen to or let them create and play music. Drama and Music offers year-round age-appropriate activities with easy-to-follow instructions to teach your children. Music and dance play a role in all developmental skills and serve as a form of exercise.
Teach children math with coins, fake money, measuring cups, or rulers, for example. Also, decks of cards and dice teach children basic math skills. Mathematics can be a challenging subject to grasp if not taught at an early age. Using household items like a muffin tin or ice cube tray, you can help teach counting, addition, subtraction, and fractions. Green Dragon’s Science and Math books will give you additional ideas.
- Science Centers:
Science is another complex subject to take on, and teaching early with hands-on learning proves more effective. Young children like to touch and look at things to understand and engage their curiosity. Science Activities Leaves are Falling In Rainbows has plenty of activities to do with eager learners.
By not forcing activities, children will freely engage with the stations and pick up projects freely. These mini learning centers will teach children independence as their natural curiosity will keep them busy and active. Daily routines also establish discipline in children that will help them through adulthood.
Serving meals and snacks at the same time will meet nutritional needs along with regular nap and bedtime. Science, Math, and Nutrition has dozens of activities to teach young children tough subjects along with the importance of dietary requirements. Children can help in the kitchen with preparing food, cleaning up, and learning responsibilities. Bath time can also be a fun and interactive learning experience with sponges, bubbles, or other affordable toys. Reading a story at bedtime also helps children learn and forms a stronger parent-child bond.
Having a variety of learning centers will help parents determine which areas interest children the most. A talent for art or writing may emerge at a young age, and children should be encouraged to explore their interests. Simple compliments like “good job” or putting their creations on display helps promote positive self-esteem. Electronic devices can have long-term adverse effects on social/emotional skills, emerging later in life. Let kids be kids, and parents can also let loose and have a little fun.
Our blog Home School Essentials gives you a run-down on supplies you’ll need.