Five everyday opportunities for learning
Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when learning is fun. You are your child’s most important educator and play pal.
Everyday family and community life is made up of hundreds of different routines, experiences, and activities that provide infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers informal but rich and varied opportunities to acquire language and literacy.
Five everyday moments perfect for making language rich with your child:
- A visit to the park is a great environment for naming the things you see together. Different places present opportunities for different experiences and new words. Talk about how high the swings go, why you should take turns on the slippery slide and marvel together weird and wonderful preying mantis or a lorikeet’s shiny green feathers. Don’t skip over new words like lorikeet, explain them as you go. It’s a good idea to repeat new vocabulary later in the day to build familiarity.
- A trip in the car or bus is a great time to sing songs or play I spy! Mix it up with I spy with colours. Singing songs breaks down syllables in words and makes it easier for children to hear the individual sounds. Why not include your child’s name or get them to add the next line? "Tara had a little lamb, little lamb" etc or "Tara had a ..." (little black dog; a tiny white mouse etc).
- Mealtimes are a chance to talk about food and eating. Use descriptive language to talk about the colours and textures of food, like creamy cheese, cold yoghurt, or a pink biscuit. "Here’s a banana, let’s peel it before we eat some. This one is nice and mushy! Here’s your half!" Continue the conversation by talking about things that are happening around you in the kitchen or at the park.
- At bath time talk about the parts of the body and their uses. "Here are your eyes you use these for seeing me. This is your ear for hearing, and these are your legs for bouncing". Play peek a boo with the flannel and blow some bubbles together! "Let’s dry you off with this fluffy blue towel".
- Getting ready to go out is full of opportunities for language. "We’re going to Nana’s for lunch. Let’s check the weather to see if we need a jumper. We’ll need a bag to carry our hats and water bottle. What shoes will we need if we go to the park?" Talk about the time you are leaving and what the time is now. Give your children the chance to choose a toy or a book to take with them. You can talk about the day of the week, the bus schedule, the time it takes to walk to the bus and much more.
Children don’t need expensive toys or resources to develop their early literacy skills. What they need is a close and loving adult in their lives who can focus on them and make their literacy journey a fun one.
There are so many opportunities for sharing words everyday. Make the most of them.