Growing up I remember hands-on learning as something that was incredibly valuable to me. I liked to be active, on the go and busy. Now as a parent I am seeing the value in slowing down, and can truly appreciate the effort my parents went to when taking us out and about!
In the very early stages of schooling still with our preschooler, we are looking for ways to engage our child in learning while still sparking her need for play and imagination. Over the summer she participated in three days of “Critter Camp” at the local nature center; she continues to explore and learn more about nature and asks to take hikes, read nature books, and visit outdoor learning spaces. Our library hosted a speaker who is a homeschool senior and advocate for honeybee education, preservation, and hobbyist beekeeping. They had hands-on models of bees, large posters of their environment and needs, as well as how we need them for our eco-system, and they answered questions about bees. Due to this learning opportunity, potentially in the spring we will add a beehive to our little homestead.
Recently another nature center in our area sponsored a “Meet the Raptor” program and specifically had a session for younger children.
Rachel the Peregrine falcon and Gonzo the turkey vulture were the guests of honor. I think this visit was perhaps more exciting for Daddy than anyone else. Although our shy preschooler didn’t ask questions, she watched and listened intently. After we left she began to process the experience and ask more about raptors.
As we try to implement experiences and hands-on learning, I am hopeful that it leads to organic growth of interests in our children. After taking our oldest to baby and parent music classes since she was an infant, she has a love of music and desire to learn how to play, sing, and enjoy music in our daily lives. I am curious to see what other types of adventures we can take.
I would love suggestions from others on what their early learners enjoy doing that is experiential and hands-on.