Wednesday, 30 May 2012

CREATIVE PLAY AND LEARNING FOR CHILDREN IN SUMMER HOLIDAYS


The kids now are out of school for their summer holidays and they have the long lazy days of May and June ahead. They could spend their summer days in front of the TV or could be using their imaginations to create projects that are a reflection of their own unique talents.
Asking children to do paint or make some kind of drawing in the summer holidays won’t work for them and they will easily get bored if they really don’t have that much interest in drawing and coloring activities. After all, they are in school for 10 months of the year and most of them join some art classes. Don’t they get enough art classes in school?
Creative and Artistic are not the same words or things. Creativity is an approach to life. Creative thinkers know that problems have various different types of solutions. When they face a problem, they find a way around instead of giving up. They are always keen to take risks in order to learn new skills. These are significant life skills that are required to be promoted in children.
Summer Activities, Children’s Crafts and Science Projects provide children the chance to learn and practice these skills. Even if they go after a project guide accurately, they will still need to make decisions about shades of colors and placement of the items. When one project  is successfully completed, most of the children will wish to do that again with a different aspect i.e. by changing the colors, shapes and items in the same project, and this way they will be creating a new project from their creative mind.
Creative Projects inspire children to search the resources to make what they require, instead of opening up a box that has all the required supplies in it. The first project in the weekly project list uses waste paper, some glue sticks, some cotton balls, different types of colors, and waste empty cans. What if none are available? Should the children wait until someone else searches for all the ‘right’ materials they need for their project. No, let them start thinking about what they could find as an alternate. It is fun to sit back and see children search for the required supplies for their project and solve their own problems.
These Summer Activities persuade children to work with different types of materials. The best part about the summer projects is that they can be done outside unlike the winter break, when kids are bound to stay inside. The best thing for the parents is, less mess to clean up!
See the list of Summer Kids Activities for specific project ideas and step by step directions or choose from one of these themes for kids to find crafts, games and activities all about one topic.  
Kids always have dream of a building a toy house, or a fort to play with their friends. And playing with building blocks makes kids develop their creative thoughts and fine motor skills. Being both fun and challenging, particularly with the toddler and preschool kids, building block toys have always been a child favorite.  There are also numerous benefits that make building block toys so much more than just a fun game for kids.  Here are the top five:
1.  Improves Motor Skills – While playing with the building blocks, the children are required to place them in a specific way to make sure that they won’t fall over. Resultantly, it will improve their hand-eye coordination the more the child interacts and plays with the building blocks. The uncomplicated act of holding on the blocks itself will give your kids good practice for gripping other objects, as well as make their fingers and hands stronger.
2.  Stimulates the Mind – The children learn to think logically, while playing with building blocks. When for the first time you child starts building something and experiences the blocks fall over, he will begin to understand that the blocks have to be arranged and placed in a proper order to prevent toppling.  As your child continues piling one block upon another, they will start realizing that beginning with a stronger base by arranging most of the blocks at the bottom will prevent the stack from toppling. These logical thinking skills will also tone up the child’s intellectual development in other areas.
3.  Building Math and Vocabulary Skills Studies have brought out that playing with the building blocks helps in language development and mathematical skills for children. Language skills are improved as the child learns the names of the shapes, sizes, and colors of each building block. In addition, mathematical skills are also developed as the child learns to add or subtract the number of building blocks they use to build a structure. So it is evident that the including building blocks as a fun toy in the kids play are also a great preschool learning tool.
4.  Encourages Creativity – One of the best parts in the game of building blocks is that it piques a child’s imagination to create various structures, and hence accelerates their creativity. Building blocks also offer a great beginning point to motivate a child to be creative as well as thinking ‘out of the box’.
5.  Promotes Positive Social Interaction – Another benefit of including building blocks into a child’s playtime is its ability to teach a child how to share with others. When they learn to play together, they learn how to interact and cooperate with others. It also enables them to learn how to work as a team and develops the team spirit in the kids.
Even though the thought of building block toys being more than a bunch of blocks being stacked one on another might be tough to comprehend, you might realize that they can be much more than that.  Isn’t it incredible that such a simple toy in reality become part of the building blocks of your child’s development?  As such, this age-old simple toy can really serve your child beyond their original intent.
Skill of fun brings you a set of 60 blocks in different shapes and of appropriate dimensions to stack them over each other and build simple to complex structures. It is completely child safe, light weight, non-breakable, and the best part is that it includes colored and natural wood-finish blocks and after playing and building houses, they can be again packed in the box in which it comes for playing again next day.
The game of playing with the bead pattern can improve so many things, which might not get improved with other tasks or toys among your Kids. The bead pattern is the game of playing with the beads and making colorful designs with these beads. Tiny set of beads comprise flowers, sets of various colours on endless geometric boards. Playing with the bead pattern, your child began to explore shape by working with the geometric pegboards slowly and gradually.
In a short time your child will be exploring a lot of different themes using these beads; flags, animals, pattern, countries.
The main educational benefits of Bead pattern are:
  •          Simple tool for improving fine motor control
  •          Tool for learning color, shape, pattern, counting
  •          Imaginative play
  •          Design concepts
  •          Pattern following, patience, concentration
  •    Opportunity to have a cheap, easily available, easily stored craft material that lends itself to a wide variety of themes and exploration
It is amazing how children grow and their abilities change. 
Fun Educational Puzzles
Puzzles come in various forms. There are the traditional jigsaw puzzles, 3-D puzzles, sliding block puzzles and matching puzzles. They can contain a few pieces to thousands of them. Puzzles that are appropriate for a child's age and developmental level provide a fun yet challenging learning experience. Puzzles for toddlers are very different from puzzles for school kids. Here are a few things to look for in puzzles for every age.
Babies and Toddlers: 
Babies and toddlers can learn a lot from the appropriate puzzle according to their age. Shape stackers are a good type of puzzle for babies for the reason that the pieces are easy for small hands to grasp. The wooden puzzles that have a board with pictures of the corresponding pieces allow a toddler to learn how to match objects. The pieces fit roughly, so they're not too hard for small hands to put together. Foam jigsaw-type puzzles are also good for babies and toddlers. Hand-eye coordination is another significant thing that puzzles teach to children. It can be tricky for a little one to get the pieces where they belong at first, but after a few tries he will be delighted to see that he can do it easily. Another advantage of toddler puzzles is that they can help teach the names of colors and shapes. Parents can help by pointing out the colors or shapes of the pieces that the child is matching. Some puzzles have pieces with letters, numbers or animals on them, and they also can be used in the same way.
Preschoolers: 
Jigsaw puzzles with a few large pieces are very much beneficial for this age group. They are in the age where they are still developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, so they are in all likelihood not ready for puzzles with small pieces yet. At this age children can benefit tremendously from working together to solve puzzles. They might share strategies such as sorting pieces by color or searching for patterns. This helps them in social development and communication skills as well as intellectual development.
School children: 
Elementary school going children in the age of 4-7 years can move on to more advanced jigsaw puzzles. The pieces can be smaller and the designs a little more complex. Children of this age can still gain from the teamwork lessons learned by solving puzzles together. Once the kid has become proficient at putting together flat puzzles, they might enjoy working on three-dimensional ones. These add new challenges and make nice bedroom d├ęcor when they are completed. Many of them do not even require glue to stay together, like the puzzles which come with pins on the pieces.
Puzzles are a fun way to learn significant skills. They also render a great opportunity for your child to work with parents, siblings or other children toward a common goal. The educational benefits of this game are much greater than those of many more complex and costly toys and they can be reinforced with each new puzzle the child completes.
Now we come to the other things besides playing, because children can’t play all day long. So the other thing what children can do in their summer holidays is read or listen stories etc. from a book.
There are a number of reasons for using stories with young learners, either they read by themselves or someone read for them. Children are curious to learn new things in life and if grown-ups pave the path of learning more smoothly by using attractive stories, the stories which are not against human clean nature but convey a moral or real good experience of the past, colored by fascinating photos and pictures, can effect children to learn faster.
We remember pictures much better than the text, so if we learn something in a text enriched by nice relevant pictures and when it is told through a delightful story by an experienced teacher or someone else, children show eagerness in listening and will be induced to ask questions about the events occurred in stories.
Following are some benefits of using stories with children:
  • Exercising imagination, prediction and anticipation.
  • Introducing the child to other cultures and customs.
  • Learning new vocabularies in context.
  • Getting familiar with the rhythm, tone, and music of the language.


Furthermore, when children get back to their homes from schools and they are asked how their day was, they begin to retell the nice stories they heard and in this way they enjoy playing or coping the characters mentioned in the stories.
Young Children and the Benefits of Reading
The researches done so far in the child psychology shows that the early years involve the highest rates of learning, and the habits formed at a young age will stay with the kids for a lifetime. It's for that reason a perfect time to introduce children to books which educate and inform them throughout their lives. Children of any age can benefit from reading books on a day to day basis, and it's always best to make time for children to read each and every day. A good selection of quality children's books is a very important part of the whole literacy process, but not all children's book are recommended. Picking up a children's book or two at a supermarket check-out or from an online store is no guarantee of quality, and children may become bored or turned-off reading by some less authoritative works on the market. Independent online children book stores will often offer a wide selection of good quality children's books from leading children's authors and book publishing houses, usually broken down into sections according to age suitability. Some of the online stores have large children's book section with similarly well stocked children's books. Books by leading children's authors and publishers can also be bought online for those seeking the convenience of mail order buying.

Follow few simple tips when considering books for children of all ages:
 
Baby Books (0-2 years)
Children are never too young to enjoy books, and for babies it's not just about reading the words. It's also about enjoying the interaction with the parents as the child sits with them and enjoys the attention. Babies feel comforted by a parent’s voice, but also find interest in the brightly coloured, simple images and pictures featured in many baby books. They enjoy listening and respond well to books with a simple text or good rhythm. Once old enough to sit up and handle the books themselves they'll enjoy "touchy-feely" books that stimulate the senses with various textures. Board books of washable vinyl or washable plastic paper are especially useful for babies who enjoy a good chew! Lift-flap books help in the development of child dexterity, and button activated sounds and melody books add sound to the experience. Finally, bedtime stories are a great way to help send babies off to sleep, and help to develop memory skills during repeated telling of favorite tales. Introducing Reading to babies, sets them on the road to the wonders of the written word, and help provide a useful grounding in listening and reading skills as they grow.
Toddlers also love the bright colours and images, as well as the repetitive text of stories that focus on familiar everyday events. At this young age, books do not have to include words in order to be enjoyable. Toddlers have the imagination to take picture books and create their own stories around the various pictures in the book. Toddlers often enjoy looking at the same book, or having the same story read to them over and over again as they anticipate what is on the next page. They also particularly enjoy children's books with rhythmic or lyrical words. Energetic toddlers can be quite rough when handling the books themselves, and it is best to have a few hardboard books for them to play with. They also enjoy the interest offered in lift the flap books and pop-up books, but be prepared for some to be torn to shreds! It's also a good age to learn the basics of language and numbers, and reading along to stories and counting books will help them understand words and numbers. Favorite characters, such as those from television programs’, are a particularly good way of teaching the basics in fun ways they will enjoy.
Preschool children are often excited to read and learn about the wider world outside of their home, school, or environment. They enjoy listening to slightly more complex texts with more in-depth characters and still enjoy good rhythm and some repetition. Stories with a sequence allow children to predict, repeat sounds, and make word plays. Preschoolers should experience a variety of different subjects, such as fairy tales and fact-filled non-fiction books. Books on people from different times or other countries arouse their natural curiosity, and encourage a hunger to learn more about the subjects featured. Books about the natural world, from the familiar animals and wildlife around them to the more exotic jungle animals are also subjects that stimulate children's minds. Pirates, mermaids, knights and fairies are some of the most popular subjects for little boys and girls of pre-school age. Educational books are also a good idea at this young age, and titles that introduce an understanding of the alphabet and counting, telling the time, and even those that provide an easy introduction to a second language can be the books they'll want to read the most. 
By the end of the summer, the kids will have completed lots of great projects. More importantly they will have spent time thinking creatively. So make little effort and see your kids enjoying their summer holidays like never before, and see them learning through play.

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