One of the greatest single mantras on education is by Seth Godin who says the best way to teach children, is to have them solve interesting problems. It’s that simple and that hard, and there are many nuances to it, but at its essence, we understand it’s not memorization of the state capitals. It’s not the perfect script handwriting. And whether you see it or not, it’s likely your kid does this every day already. It’s just that their problems are what clothes a doll wears, or what imaginary roads their trucks build.
What can kids do, and adults see when it’s all over?
Well that’s where we have two ideas to engage their minds, and to get it out into the world.
First, Write a picture book. Have your youngster use their imagination to retell a familiar story, then have them write pictures of it in their own book. Here you’ll have to take some computer paper and maybe staple the center, or corners together, or maybe do it at the end, but provide the canvas. Let your child pick the story, a familiar one or if they’re creative, have them come up with one on their own, even if it really is just a one act, one location story. Afterward, you may need to write the sentences that they speak of their story, down on the bottom. And voila, you have yourself a keepsake which they should spend a 20 minutes creating, hopefully quietly, and re-read it every day for a while. When they’re re-reading it, ask them to remember how it felt to create something. This will lock in those emotional moments to help them increase their EQ.
Second, if books aren’t their thing, but artwork is, have them draw a single, big mural. Buy a sheet of posterboard if you can, cut out a cardboard box of tape some computer paper together if you can’t. On it they could write and illustrate facts they learned in school, or concepts or procedures, even things like getting in line for lunch as a kindergartner. If they just like to spas out with colors, let em at it. Whatever it takes to engage their brains, and get some quiet time.