We’re all still at home! Can you believe it? You may be racking your brain for more and more ideas how to keep your children engaged, busy, and productive during this time. Hopefully, you have taken some of our advice from previous months, like getting out into nature and cooking. This month, we’re talking projects!
The Project Approach
A huge part of the Reggio Emilia early childhood approach (which I used as a teacher for many years) is the concept of project-based learning. Basically, any activity that the children are interested in that can continue for a longer period of time allows children time to really think through ideas from start to finish, as well as working through mistakes and/or issues that may arise.
The Project Approach — at Home
You can take this same approach at home as well! Creating and participating in a project with your child over the span of a few weeks can strengthen many important skills for them, but it can also be a great creative outlet for both of you — especially during such a trying and stressful time. Here are a few quick ideas for projects that you can do with your child at home!:
- Write a Book!: Children have so many ideas and tell us stories that are intricate, exciting, and imaginative each day. Invite them to take those stories and create a real, tangible book! You can talk with them about the various parts of a book: cover page, author’s bio, etc. Support them in putting their story on paper with words and illustrations. This can go on for days or weeks as the kids work to create their book. When they are finished, laminate and bind it to make it that much more special. Better yet, make copies and send them to family and friends and let your child see the joy that a book can bring!
- Build Something!: Things like bird houses, planter boxes and cars can be amazing things to build with your child. Talk with them about what kind of things they would like to create. Talk with them about drawing up plans for the build and support them in drawing up their own. Gather wood (you can pick up wood pallets for free from most grocery stores or construction sites) and some tools and work with your child to build their project! They will not only learn important skills like measurement, mathematics and perseverance, but it will also be such a boost to their self confidence to be able to see, touch and play with something that they built themselves.
- Grow Something!: Planning, building, and caring for a garden can be a great way to get children involved in caring for another living thing as well the idea of growing food to eat. Begin with a conversation asking your child about gardens. What do they know about them? What grows in a garden? How do you care for a garden? Next, talk about what types of things your child wants to grow in the garden. Take those ideas and research with your child how to grow those things. After that, create your garden and plant, water, and harvest with your child. (You can even use the planter box they built for the garden!). Your child will love caring for the plants and will be so excited to be able to pick and use what they grew in the meals for their family.
There are many different projects you can do with your child during and after this time we are spending at home. All of these start with conversations about what your child is interested in and how you can encourage and build off of that. Participating in projects can be such a rewarding experience for both you and your child; it is a great way to connect with them and feel a sense of confidence and accomplishment with their work! Be sure to try it out and let us know all about your projects!