Friday, June 6, 2014

DIY Playgroups for your Kids

Many parents can’t afford enrolling their children to playgroups. They act as if no remedy is possible. Why not DIY playgroups to stimulate your kids?

In Hong Kong, many wealthy families will enroll their infant or kid to various playgroups (maximum I have heard about is 12 in a week), to have the child better equipped to face the challenges in the competitive world nowadays. It’s very expensive to join the playgroups available in the market and many families can’t afford the expense. Will you simply accept this entry barrier and do nothing? Or make an effort to create your own playgroups that are similar to the commercial ones? You can still stimulate your kids at a frugal way and achieve similar competitiveness if you will.

To DIY playgroups for your kids, you need to work harder than other parents for the setup but the investment will pay off when your kids are growing smartly and have confidence to face challenges and solve their own problems.

Essential things for the DIY playgroups:

1)      A good teacher, the parents in the DIY case – they must be creative, patient and proficient at the teaching subjects.
2)      Good venues -- spacious for both indoors (a spacious corner at home) and outdoors (children’s playground nearby and children’s library), colorful and safe.
3)      Helpful tools to facilitate the learning, for example, play mat for crawling, flashcards for learning new vocabulary, and educational toys for training of the eyes, ears and limbs.
4)      Good company of similar age, if possible – children can inspire one another; this prolongs the kid’s attention and involvement to an activity or item.

Many people believe in the sponge theory (the learning ability of 0-6 years old is the highest). It is also essential to know the best timing to acquire a particular skill.

Best timing for various developments:

Age 0 – 1: crawling and the ability to control the major muscles.
Age 1 – 2: language development and interest in moving around to explore.
Age 2 – 3: social development and habit of reading.

With the best timing in mind, parents as the DIY playgroup teacher could specialize their efforts to generate a satisfactory result, maybe even better than the paid ones.

Benefits of DIY playgroups for your kids:

The playgroups organized by commercial institutes are often expensive with keep competition to get a place. There is no guarantee that the teachers are definitely creative and inspiring enough to stimulate the kids, and if not, the money spent would be a waste.

It is important for parents to attend the playgroup, free or paid, with their children. DIY playgroups at home, you will save time from traveling to different venues and be able to devote more time to the kid’s actual learning.

Parents can adopt baby gyms at home to boost the crawling and muscle development. The setup is not difficult to arrange. You need a toy to hold the infant’s attention, a super mat, your attentive and consistent effort to stimulate the baby.

It’s said that kid’s attentiveness or concentration lasts for 30 minutes only. In the DIY case, you can take a break or shift to a brand new learning aspect for every 30 minutes. The flexibility will be more fruitful than idling oneself to wait for the teacher and other children for the next move in the commercial playgroups.

It’s also said that learning a new vocabulary takes application five times to stamp the word on the kid’s memory. Five times, fewer or more in reality, suggest that continuous efforts must be inserted. Having a group of kids, the teacher won’t be able to do the consolidation for each child. Parents often need to do the forging.

In commercial playgroups, the common activities are sing and play, circle time, handwork, refreshments, story-telling and playing in the garden. Parents can learn from the samples displayed in YouTube to play the teacher role as well. There are books and blogs giving helpful tips about playgroups and how to stimulate kids learning.

The most difficult element to duplicate from the commercial playgroup is having other parents and their children to participate. You can bring your kids to play in the park, befriend other parents and kids there and check to see if they are interested in joining your DIY playgroups. If your home is not spacious enough to hold many people, think about the park or the beach nearby.

One-time alternatives:

Seek and participate in some promotional events organized by companies marketing their infant’s or child’s products, for example, the crawling competition for infants, free play in the giant ball pit or inflatable bouncer, and trial play for new toys. Also, check out the family activities organized by the government and charity organizations. These occasions will expose your children to other kids of similar age, giving them more courage to face strangers and express themselves in the new environment.

Without enrolling to the expensive playgroups, a child is still competitive if his parents could provide similar and relevant stimulus, spend time with the kid to explore the world together, let him play with other kids to enhance the communication and social skills.

Opportunities are everywhere, grasp at whatever you have access to. Your kids can be benefited in a frugal way without leaving their potentials untouched.

Author’s note:

Doing exercises at home with your children is an inexpensive way to keep every family member physically fit and share more time with one another simultaneously. If you have no idea what exercises to do, the article below may give you a helping hand. 

Exercise at Home From Head to Toe

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