Children need to see the world around them in order to begin to understand the world around them. They need to learn about real, practical things like seeing for themselves what a bus is, what a seashell is, what goes on inside a bank, supermarket, or shoe store. These things are more important, when they’re young, than learning how to use a computer.
First-hand experiences encourage a child’s curiosity which encourages their desire to learn. Children are better prepared when they enter school if they’ve had exposure to the world around them. They have a better understanding about what the teacher is talking about, what is being conveyed in stories, songs, etc.
Getting Out and About
Let your children tag along on your daily routine – going to the bank, picking up laundry, the grocery store. They will observe how people interact with each other.
Exploring nature is also great. Let them inspect stones, seed pods, leaves, insects, etc. Bring along a nature book and look up different species that they may find. Take trips to the library, ride a bus, go to the beach, watch a musical performance or sporting event. These explorations don’t have to cost much money, or any money for that matter.
Encouraging children to explore the world around them provides so many benefits, including:
- Keeps curiosity alive.
Helps improve a child’s vocabulary.
Helps children learn to participate in conversations.
Encourages them to ask questions.
Creates foundational understanding for math, expression, creativity and science.
It’s a good idea to prepare children for these explorations beforehand. If you are planning to take your child to a restaurant, practice ordering the food. If you are going on a bus ride, practice how to get on and off the bus. If you are going to a store, practice exchanging pleasantries at the check out or how to buy things in a store, practice asking for help, letting people off the elevator before you get on, how to prepare to step on and off the escalator and so on.
Through rehearsal they encounter positive interactions and gain a greater sense of independence and self-confidence. Independence and self-confidence are key characteristics needed when starting kindergarten plus it’s a huge part of pro-social behavior. Make the most out of the experience by helping them anticipate and look forward to it.
After the Excursion
After the outing is a great opportunity to play out what they have explored. Talk about the excursion. Ask questions, answer the child’s questions. Encourage exploration.