Better Beginnings, a program of the Arkansas Department of Social Services, Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, which aims to give children the best care possible, offers structured activities requiring little or no fees and are ideal for constructive play on short notice.
These activities are fun for the whole family and show young children that time spent at home can be an exciting and positive learning experience.
“Children are born learning and learn best through play,” said Kelli Hilburn, administrator of the Better Beginnings program. “Having fun and learning at home creates a strong foundation for future learning in kindergarten and beyond.”
As environmental health and safety protocols continue to evolve, families and children are experiencing limits to their regular opportunities for play and interaction outside the home. To alleviate these disruptions, Better Beginnings offers learning activities, located in the Family Resource Library on the Better Beginnings website, that help parents and guardians bring fun to the classroom. to an unexpected extended stay at home. Children of all ages can participate in these activities while learning. These activities conveniently use everyday items found in their own home. The resources are also available in Spanish in the Biblioteca de Recursos.
Learning doesn’t have to stop at the classroom door. Families have a unique opportunity with these activities to introduce new concepts to their children, most likely without having to buy anything new. For example, by creating a rainstorm, kids learn how clouds and rain form with shaving foam and food coloring. By exploring shapes, they learn to classify and recognize things that are different using cardboard or recycled paper and glue. Children use toilet paper tubes or leftover tissue boxes and rubber bands to create musical instruments, like a guitar, that they can strum to further develop their fine motor skills.
Parents can have fun too. While providing supervision, parents can guide the conversation to the concepts each child is learning and keep the laughter going. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that parents set aside at least five to 10 minutes a day to spend time playing with their children. It’s a time when parents can have fun and get into mischief.
“Kids love to see their parents act stupid,” Hilburn said. “It reminds them that they can only have fun with their family as playmates.”
The Better Beginnings YouTube channel has videos showing how easy it is to create some of the activities on the Better Beginnings website. Families will find these and other informative videos on child development and the importance of play.
For more resources and activities you can do at home with children, check out the Family Resource Library on the Better Beginnings website.
To learn more about Better Beginnings, follow their social networks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or check out their website arbetter Beginnings.com.