Better Beginnings, a program of the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education focusing on giving children the best possible care, offers structured activities requiring little to no cost and are ideal for constructive, short notice play. These activities are fun for the whole family and show young children that time at home can be an exciting and positive learning experience.
“Children are born learning and learn best through play,” said Kelli Hilburn, Better Beginnings Program Administrator. “Having fun and learning at home creates a solid foundation for future learning in kindergarten and beyond.”
As environmental health and safety protocols continue to evolve, families and children are experiencing limits to their regular opportunities for play and interactions outside the home. To alleviate these disruptions, Better Beginnings is offering learning activities, located in the Family Resource Library on the Better Beginnings website, that help parents and caregivers bring the classroom fun to an unexpected extended stay at home. Children of all ages can engage in these activities while learning. These activities conveniently use everyday objects found in their own home. The resources are also available in Spanish in the Biblioteca de Recursos.
Learning does not have to stop at the classroom door. Families have a unique opportunity with these activities to introduce new concepts to their children, most likely without having to purchase anything new. For example, while creating a rainstorm children are learning how clouds and rain are formed with shaving cream and food coloring. While exploring shapes they learn about classification and recognizing things that are different by using recycled cardboard or paper and glue. Children use toilet paper tubes or left over tissue boxes and rubber bands to create musical instruments, such as a guitar they can strum to further develop their fine motor skills.
Parents can get in on the fun, too. While providing supervision, parents can guide the conversation to the concepts each child is learning and keep the laughter going. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends parents set aside at least five to 10 minutes a day to spend time engaging in play with their children. This is a time when parents can have fun and be silly.
“Children love to see their parents acting silly,” said Hilburn. “It reminds them that they can have fun with only their families as playmates.”
The Better Beginnings YouTube channel has videos showing how easy it is to create some of the activities found on the Better Beginnings website. Families will find those videos and other informational videos about child development and the importance of play.
For more resources and activities you can do at home with children, check out the Family Resource Library on the Better Beginnings website.
To learn more about Better Beginnings, follow their social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or check out their website arbetterbeginnings.com.