Integrating Early Childhood Learning in domestic activities
Having a pre-schooler in the house can be exhausting but also a source of great pleasure and fun. The zeal for life, the curiosity and the pure enthusiasm for everything around them makes pre-schoolers extremely engaging. Children at that stage discover the world around them, and seem to soak up everything they come across.
At the same time, the unending stream of questions and constant claims for attention can also be very demanding on parents…
A positive way of negotiating this stage is to involve children in household chores by creating early childhood learning activities from whatever you are doing. This reinforces learning at school and gives your child the advantage of picking up additional skills and vocabulary.
Early childhood learning typically includes:
- identifying colours
- identifying shapes
- categorising, sorting, selecting
- expanding vocabulary
Here are some ideas:
1. Cutlery is handled at every meal and needs to be washed up and packed afterwards. A young child can assist in picking the number of spoons/forks needed for a meal, and practice counting by doing so. Conversation can be around questions like:
- How many people are going to eat? So how many spoons do we need?
- If we add/remove one spoon, how many will they be?
- Are all the spoons the same size? Which one is bigger/smaller?
2. Laundry occurs in every home, whether it is washed there or outside. A young child can help in sorting items by colour, sorting by type (shirts, socks) sorting by ownership. Hanging laundry on the dry-line and removing it also offers great opportunities for engaging a pre-schooler:
- Can you hand me two pegs?
- What is the colour of this peg?
- How many socks are here?
- Look for all the handkerchiefs; how many are they?
3. Shoes and slippers are in many homes kept outside the door and when there are more people in the house there can be quite a number of them scattered around. You can task your pre-schooler to:
- arrange them in a row along the wall;
- arrange them from biggest to smallest;
- arrange them by type (boot, slipper, sandal, kamboo)
4. Preparing food can be stressful, especially after a day at work. An attention-demanding child is not always convenient in the kitchen, but sometimes there’s no escape. You can take some level of control by engaging your child in what you do:
- What is the name of this vegetable?
- Where do you see onions/any other item?
- What is the first sound of …? For example: carrot = /kuh/, ginger = /djuh/
- Fire is hot; what else is hot? What is cold?
- Which is bigger/smaller, cabbage or tomato?
- What is the colour of…? What else has the same colour?
- What is the shape of a plate? What else is round? Can you see something that is square?
5. In families that own a car, a regular chore may be the washing and maintaining of the vehicle. Engage your pre-schooler in this, for example by asking:
- how many wheels does the car have?
- where is the front of the car, where is the back?
- what is the shape of the steering wheel?
- what are the colours of the flag on the number plate?
- any familiar letters or numbers on the number plate
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The Parents' Guide is a joint initiative by: