Families encourage learning in lots of fun ways, making a big difference in their children’s growth and development. Families can make a big difference by helping children to learn new things, reading and supporting their interests.
Who is a family?
All the people who share in the caring and nurturing of a child are family. Immediate family, like mums, dads, step-parents, foster parents or adopted parents, siblings, and extended family like grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and cousins can all have a strong role.
Everyday ideas for the whole family to engage in your child’s learning:
• Read together
Picture books with mum before bed, grandma’s favorite story on Skype, map and street signs with a dad on the way to swimming, an email from a grandpa, a text from a friend, a story on an iPad with a sibling.
• Write together
A letter to a teacher, an invitation to a friend, a shopping list with mum, a secret message to dad, an envelope to a grandparent, a birthday card to a cousin, a scrapbook of a family vacation, a story with a neighbor, draw and color in with brothers and sisters.
• Talk together
Talk, talk, talk, and then talk more. Talk with the whole family at dinnertime, traveling to and from school with a dad, on Skype with mum on a business trip, while playing together. Point things out, ask open questions, ring uncle and talk about the football, talk about big ideas, passions, interests, a favorite food, movies and books with the aunty, current affairs with a step-dad, family history with grandparents.
• Learn together
Number puzzle or a crossword with a grandpa, build with Lego with sisters, cook and bake with the aunty, set the table, sort the recycling, count, conduct internet research with a big brother, play a family game of cards, care for a pet, construct a block tower, match shapes and pictures, make a pattern with beads.
• Play together
Play games, hide and seek with friends, pretend, imagine, construct, build a cubby with a dad, dress up with cousins, soccer with the neighbors, experiment with different sensory experiences like sand, water, rocks, and sticks.
• Laugh together
Tell a joke, make up rhymes, and riddles, family concerts, watch a funny movie.
• Move together
Go for a family walk or bike ride, dance, jump on the trampoline, swim, play backyard cricket, plant a veggie patch with a dad, swing and climb at the park, play ball games, run, skip. Go where there is room for children to run, explore and climb safely. Let children try out different sports and give them an opportunity to play team games.
• Explore together
Take a grandma to the art gallery or museum, story time at the library with mum, national park adventure with the family, a vacation at the beach, a bus ride to the city to go to listen to a concert and buy an ice-cream, shop together at the fruit markets, swim at the local pool, camp in the backyard with cousins, fish and chips at the lake.