Children learn best when they are having fun and to that end I have a lot of activities planned, both in and outside the house. I have a wide range (& ever increasing) number of toys, these are kept in our spare room & rotated on a regular basis so no one gets bored. They include,
multi-cultural play-foods with a wooden cooker
cars with a village mat
an extensive brio train set
dolls with clothes and washable nappies
several boxes of books
and many more.
I chose all my toys carefully taking into regard the educational value and enjoyment value of all toys that come into the house. We try not to have lumps of plastic that do everything and teach nothing, but instead opt for toys that will stimulate their imagination and help them develop at their own pace.
I often play with the children, however to help develop their independence I also allow them time to play on their own under my supervision.
Just a little more paint!
I try to make sure all the children get outside at least once a day, this may be just into our well-equipped & safe garden, or further afield. We often go to local toddler groups, including a local childminder support group & a local music group. Day trips are a great treat, to working farms, into the beautiful high peak countryside, as well as trips into Manchester. The Police museum is always popular, as is Chinatown. I try to tie these into activities we are doing back at home.
We also do lots of messy & creative play, these range from crayoning & painting, to cornflour gloop & playdoh, not to mention baking, cooking, collage, paper mache & many many more.
I include all children in all activities to the best of their abilities. We have a wall in the kitchen to display the children's work, and much of it will also be sent home for the whole family to enjoy.
Ello Ello Ello!
One of the best classes we attended with Andrew was a baby sign-language class. It helped him communicate before he could say the words, and has cut down on frustration and tantrums, making him a much calmer child. I now use basic sign language as part of all my communications with children and it's astounding how much easier it is to understand that a child is hungry as opposed to thirsty, tired as opposed to upset or just wants a biscuit with their milk!
I try to ensure all children have access to a wide range of activities & opportunities to learn. The computer is free for everyone to use and there are programs for all ages. It is kept in the living room so I can keep an eye it at all times, and has been password protected against any unsuitable sites. I also limit the amount of time children spend watching TV - it can be a very useful tool, but one I try to use sparingly.
I would never force a child to do an activity they did not want to take part in, and quiet time can be a lovely opportunity to read a book or have a cuddle.