Friday, June 6, 2014

Making Learning Fun!

As I have often discussed, I love to teach my children and anyone else who would like to learn.  This keeps me on my toes because young children in their sponge years really can learn more quickly than we as adults can often teach.  My son frequently asks me to recount historical events as his bedtime stories and never likes to hear the same one twice, as his memory is quite excellent.  Thus it happened that after some time he drained my history buff self quite dry and I had to study a bit in order to keep up with the bedtime routine. 
But recently, due to my daughter's passion for learning and imagination, we have taken to study in a very unusual but exceedingly amusing manner.  We throw parties.  Our last one was themed Ancient Egypt and we invited several friends for a play date, made clay amulets, learned to draw various Egyptian gods and goddesses, and turned two of our guests into mummies.  We "removed" their liver, intestines, and the like and put them into their corresponding canopic jars, covered the children with "salt" which in our case came in the physical reality as pillows and wrapped them in toilet paper.  One of our guests was a girl, who we called Cleopatra, told her history and let her kill herself with a paper cut out of an asp, and the second was a boy who we dubbed King Tut, recounted how his broken knees led to his death, and laid him in the smallest room in my house where archeologists and grave robbers would have a difficult time finding him.  We also discussed the differences in mummy making during the time of Tut versus the era of Cleopatra.  After some research I had also Ancient Egyptian snacks and my children got inventive to create the river Nile out of blue towels throughout a section of the house.  We are planning a 19th century costume party play date on July 19th and inviting whole families to come dressed as Abraham Lincoln, Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Dickens, Joseph Smith, Jane Austen, Frankenstein and the like.  My children in preparation for that will be spending the next month learning 19th century literature and the like. 
Wondering how to entertain your kids this summer in a meaningful way?  There really are countless ideas out there.  My daughter and I also made brownies and delivered them as a random act of kindness to several pregnant ladies in our congregation.  Teaching children work and compassion proves at least as important as the academic side of the learning coin, because it isn't just what we teach children to know.  Much more importantly, it is what we teach them to be. 


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