I am a lover of online learning. I love the way you can access the best teachers from far away places–and normally for quite a bit less investment than if you took a class from that teacher in person. One thing I hadn’t ever thought of was little classes for kids online! Mariah Bruehl, author of the fantastic book Playful Learning, has brought her wisdom online with the Playful Learning Ecademy. It’s totally perfect for creative and proactive moms who want to be part of their children’s education, but don’t want to actually homeschool.
I think, more than anything as a mom, my goal is to make every day full of silly learning opportunities. I can talk to Cooper about being generous when he chooses to give up his dessert because Asher’s fell on the floor. I can talk about the door opening and closing on the toy bus Eli is enamored with. Asher and I can count and line up his toy cars. And Noah and I are really starting to get into some real heart conversations about the world we live in.
I think approaching daily life as one big thing to explore and discover is enriching and engaging just as much for my boys as it is for me. When I was in Ethiopia, I met a little boy named Eyob (I know, I know…you’ve had enough gushing about Eyob! But he is so remarkable! Amazing! Endearing!). Eyob was hanging out where his mom works, and there was not a toy in sight. His mom didn’t lug a bag of books and toys (or, like we would probably do…an iPad). Instead, Eyob ran about the compound, joyfully engaging with the adults there. He was never a bother and seemed to know his role and boundaries. He tinkered with sticks and pebbles, engineering small playthings from scrap of string and other found objects.
I don’t think there is much different between my boys (or your kids!) and Eyob. I don’t see Eyob as lacking because he doesn’t have an iPad, and I certainly don’t see my boys as annoying, spoiled, or selfish because they may not play as independently as Eyob. But, as a parent, I know the great importance of down-time, and free play, and even boredom for a child. I work hard to build time like that into our daily lives, forgoing the suburban pressure to have the kids involved in every planned event and extracurricular.
The sweet little Playful Learning Ecademy is a fun little resource to find little activities to keep busy kid minds engaged, while also allowing them autonomy and access to materials that require their participation. These are not passive activities, like a toy that lights up, makes noise, and moves itself!! These are fun little lessons that will help deepen your child’s involvement in the world around them.
You know I love leveraging technology and online opportunities for the good of my family and the world, and I think this is such a great idea to engage kiddos!
I’m not getting paid a dime for this endorsement–I just think it’s a lovely idea. And, I’d love to share a scholarship to the Playful Learning Ecademy with a Tiny Twig reader. You can take each of 5 classes online with your kiddos. To enter, just take a pic of your kids playing and upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #PlayfulTour and make sure to @thetinytwig so I see it! I’ll pick a random winner tomorrow evening (8/30) at 8PM EST.