There are many things parents can do at home that not only
will make their children more successful at school but will also
make learning fun. The best activities are those which involve
children actively rather than passively with pencil and paper
For the very young child, the parent and child can name the
objects in the room together. The parent can then ask the child
to bring the objects to him or her. The parent can make a
scrapbook of common objects for the child to name. The child can
rhyme nonsense words. For example, what sounds like “lunny”? A
parent can help a child learn two step directions, then increase
them to three and four steps. A parent can say nursery rhymes
and put them on a tape so that the child can play them over and
over. Playing rhyming games with the child helps. For example,
What two words sound alike: tan, ten, bag, man. Activities such
as these prepare the child to learn to read.
It also helps if parents read aloud to their children.
Current research shows that children who were read to only ten
minutes four times a week reached higher levels of reading
achievement than children who were not read to at all. If
parents can spare more time, the children do even better.
Children should be encouraged to talk about the story and ask
When parents read aloud to their child they should ask the
child warm-up questions before beginning the book. It also helps
to ask a variety of questions during the reading: What do you
think will happen next? How do you think the little boy feels?
Could the little boy in the story have done something else to
solve his problem? How do you know the story takes place in
winter? Do you remember what the little boy was wearing? Which
person in the story did you like best? Parents could also add
their own ideas about the story and what they liked about it. Do
not put pressure on the child to read but make the time together
In the area of math development there are many fun
activities parents can do with their children. The child can
help set the table, counting the knives and forks and matching
them to each person’s place at the table. Making a cake helps a
child learn math concepts. Playing a game like Bingo helps a
child recognize the numbers. Playing card games helps the child
understand numbers and sequencing.
Games are wonderful ways for the child to learn and for the
family to have fun. Simple Simon is an old favorite. Jigsaw
puzzles of all levels of difficulty are very helpful. Stringing
different size buttons is fun as is lacing pictures with colored
yarn. Playing with marbles and jump roping are helpful for
coordination. The game of Pick-Up-Sticks helps develop
eye-hand coordination. Bean bags and targets as well as ring
toss games help with coordination too.
There are many games to play while traveling in the car.
One is called Alphabet Hunt. This involves finding words on
signs that begin with letters of the alphabet in order. Young
children can have a copy of the alphabet in front of them to help
them remember which letter comes next. It is always fun to make
up a story. One person begins the story and the next person adds
to the plot. Singing is also a pleasant activity which helps
I encourage parents to help their children become life-long
learners by providing them with pleasant learning experiences and
activities which prepare them to take the next step and meet with