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For many kids, rainy days can be dull and boring because they’re not able to play outdoors, and it’s difficult to stay entertained. This often leads to behavioral issues, fighting with siblings, and general moodiness that can rub off on everyone in the household. On days when the weather is just too nasty to go outside, it’s important to find other ways to help your children have fun. Fortunately, there are several apps and websites that will let them learn while they play.
Depending on your children’s age and learning needs, you can find plenty of games, videos, and interactive sites that will help guide them through education-based activities. Not only will these keep them busy on rainy days, they could actually help them get a leg up on school work, as some sites and apps are school-approved and used in class.
Check with your children’s teachers for ideas on which sites to use in conjunction with their lesson plans, and read on below for tips on where to look yourself.
Just about every child loves animals, especially dogs. These funny, loyal pets are as interesting as they are cute, so incorporate dog-themed lesson plans into your child’s online learning. There are plenty of sites that offer education on the anatomy of dogs, their history, and how vets use technology to help these animals.
Combine fun with science
There are many forms of science and many different ways you can combine learning about them with genuine fun for your kids. Building, creating experiments, and getting creative are all great ways to get your little ones interested in the subject; you can find out more about some ideas here.
Look for sites your child’s teacher endorses
Many classrooms are utilizing learning apps and sites these days, and these can often be used at home to help your child advance in a given subject. Reading and math are two of the most popular, but there are many different learning tools available on many of these sites. Talk to your child’s teacher about the best ways to help your little one stay on track at home, and ask specifically about Starfall and Scholastic.
Explore musical interests
Research continues to show the benefits of music and how learning to play an instrument can boost academic skills, self-expression, listening skills and social skills. If your child hasn’t been introduced to playing an instrument, a rainy day is the perfect time. If you have a piano or even an old woodwind instrument, pull out some sheet music or buy new reeds and set up your kid for some quick introductory music lessons from a site like LessonFace.
Help children boost social skills
Learning is often about more than memorizing facts; many kids need a little help with their social skills as well. Fortunately, there are several sites that can assist with that aspect of learning, such as Curious World, which allows you to customize the things your child works on to maximize the effect. Choose your child’s age and create a custom learning experience.
Learn a new language
Kids can benefit in many ways from learning a new language, and it’s widely believed that it’s easier to learn and retain language the earlier we start. With sites and mobile apps like Duolingo and Pangaea Learning, it’s easier than ever to discover a language and begin speaking, reading, and comprehending it. You can even learn it along with your child and motivate one another.
With these fun sites, you can help children stay on track on rainy days that prevent them from playing outside. Remember to do a bit of research first to make sure sites are age-appropriate, try to have necessary supplies on hand, and talk to your child about how to stay safe online.
Help Your Child Prosper With the Right Learning Environment
By Susan Good
Oftentimes parents are reactive when it comes to finding ways to help their kids prosper in school. Don’t wait until your youngsters’ grades reflect an unstructured in-home learning environment. With a well-thought-out work area, your child can thrive. Here is how to make a space that is distraction-free and brings out the best in your kid.
Dedicate space. Creating an area dedicated to your children’s learning is a key in helping them to bloom. As This Old House points out, children can find it encouraging to have their own space for their work. Allow your kids to provide input into the selection of various features, such as the location and set up. Provide them with a distraction-free reading nookusing a permanent space, such as a converted closet, or one that can be put up and taken down like an indoor tent. This can be a place for them to read, do homework, or just escape.
Consider orientation. How the work area is positioned can play a major role in a child’s ability to focus, so it is best to limit distraction. For instance, a window view can mean staring outside and daydreaming, so you may be better off with a desk facing away from windows. It’s also important not to have electronic devices interrupting your children’s focus.
Keep everything close. Think through all the items each of your children need in order to engage with their homework and extracurricular activities, and ensure those things are available. With supplies close at hand, your youngsters don’t need to interrupt their learning to search for items. For example, children who are involved with STEM activities may need a dry-erase board, implements for experiments, calculators, and other age- and activity-appropriate STEM tools. Artistic kids will need their various art supplies, such as paint brushes, papers, canvas, drawing tools, sculpting media, and an easel.
Choose colors wisely. While it may not seem important, some studies showthe colors in the rooms where children work can enhance or inhibit their performance. Kid-Smart Spacessuggests a three-pronged approach to best improve levels of concentration, focus, analytical abilities, retention, and critical thinking:
Adapt as necessary. Just because you set up an area doesn’t mean it will work forever. Sometimes you and your child may think you found the best spot, but you may need to change plansif it isn’t as effective as you hoped, or as your children grow and evolve.
Environment matters. As a parent, you want to help your children grow. Create a designated area that is tailored to each child’s needs. A well-thought-out environment can equate to thriving in both academic and extracurricular pursuits.