How big is the ocean? Why does it rain? Where did the dinosaurs go?
Sound familiar? Kids are full of curiosity, always open to learning and exploring. Chances are, you don’t have the answers to all their questions … and that’s ok!
An important part of parenting is discovering new things together. This means sharing experiences to learn alongside your kids and nurture their natural curiosity. Shared experiences can be critical in a child’s learning and development. In fact, research shows that shared experiences positively influence our emotional wellbeing and connectedness. They can increase self-esteem and decrease feelings of anxiety or isolation, and things as big as a family vacation or as small as a movie night make an impact.
“In my own experience, one of the best times my kids and I used to have together was listening to NPR’s “Wow in the World” podcast. During the summer, they would come to ECEC with me, and on our way to and from the center every day, I’d put on this podcast. It gave us a little bit of laughter and a whole lot of learning, but above all, it was a great way to share something together.”
Shared experience is something instilled at ECEC, too. Take our Foodie Kids Summer Camp as an example. The staff at the center learn along with the kids, finding food facts (did you know an apple is 25% air?), exploring new ingredients (ever heard of jackfruit?), and trying new techniques (know how to use a juicer?).
Outside of the center or the classroom, we encourage families to take some time to seek out new, shared experiences. Need ideas for learning and growing together with your kids?
- Spend time in the kitchen. Cooking with your kids can be a joyful experience, introducing the whole family to new flavors, making more adventurous eaters, teaching new skills and concepts, and increasing confidence.
- Plant a garden together. Got a green thumb? Tending to a garden can give you and your kids a shared sense of purpose and responsibility. Research has even shown that digging in the dirt can improve mood and learning!
- Play learning games. Games can get you and your kids moving and learning (think scavenger hunts!). The subjects you can cover through playtime are only limited to your imagination.
- Try science experiments. Doing cool science projects with your kids is a great way to discover together and help them hone their skills at things like goalsetting, planning, and problem-solving. Plus, it creates curiosity and sparks new ways to understand the world.
- Create a website. Don’t think kids can be web designers? Think again! Helping your kids with their own site online can be a great way to create together, taking pictures, telling stories, and learning tech lessons. It can also help with writing and thinking skills, and it’s an opportunity for you to teach them how to stay safe on the web.
Fun tip! The next time your kid asks something that stumps you, say:
- I don’t know.
- What’s your best guess?
- Let’s go figure it out together!
Want more info?
- The Wow in the World podcast is the #1 podcast for kids and parents, with stories about science, technology, and innovation that make you.
- Science Fun for Everyone has tons of cool experiments you can do with kids of all ages.
- Healthychildren.org gives you kid-friendly recipes that will get everyone involved in the kitchen.