04/11/2016 3:39 PM IST
Every moment can be an opportunity for a child to learn if parents and educators put their minds to it. The environment, direct or indirect, can be used as a powerful learning tool, whether it’s a trip to the supermarket to a history-changing political event unfolding on the TV.
For example, there are tons of learning opportunities when you take a preschooler to the supermarket. If you both cut out, copy or print out different labels of things you want to buy you can then let him explore the supermarket, identify them and place them in the trolley. It’s a super pre-reading activity. If you ask him to count some of the purchased activities you have a math activity and if you ask him to sort the fresh goods and the canned goods or the fruits and vegetables you have a great classification (science) activity.
Using an event such as this makes history take on life and moves it beyond the memorization of dates, names and events
If you want your primary school child to become more mindful of how he is being marketed to, ask him to count advertisements during a pre-assigned show. The task is to count and observe the advertisements. Most children will only count the “obvious” advertisements that are interspersed between the show segments. Then you can read out an article on “product placement advertising” and ask them to watch the show again to catch such messages.
If your child is a teenager, the US presidential election offers valuable lessons about the world. They are likely aware of it given that it’s all over the news and a regular part of dinner-table conversation. Now is your chance to really get them engaged in the subject and thus learn valuable lessons about how the world and politics work. For a start it gives a child a context of why history is important. How all the decisions and actions of the past give rise to the present and how our decisions and actions in the present will shape the future. Using an event such as this makes history take on life and moves it beyond the memorization of dates, names and events. It highlights how the study of history is a prerequisite for understanding politics, social structure and cultures.
Here are some activities that revolve around the US elections: