Play is the highest form of education

When we think of education we think of hard work, kids put up with it in order to avoid punishment or to receive rewards. School are often more akin to prisons than the playgrounds we imagine. But does it need to be this way? What is the actual different better work and play? Well when it comes down to it, it’s if you enjoy it or not. So if we could make learning play rather than work we would see lots of advantages, primary a massive increase in engagement from the child.

Their has been a big move in business to embrace something called called gamification. The concept is simple integrating the elements of games into work that make play enjoyable.

All work and all play made Steve Jobs (and others) a full boy! – Khandoker Mahmudur Rahman

This has been tried in multiple different places, from sales to management. But how can we bring this to education.

 

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Well their has been multiple computer game examples that are worth mentioning, from typing of the dead (a zombie shooter that teaches touch typing) to where in the where in the world is Carmen Sandiego (a detective game which teaches geography). But we here at kids go kids are more interested in games that get kids back out into nature. A what with the research that the mental and health benefit that kids get from spending more time in nature. We though we would look at a couple of idea for your child to have a chance to learn through play in nature.

I Spy
You would be suprised how much young children can get from I spy. It improves deductive reasoning, spelling and to get to know nature. Don’t limit yourself to the standard “something beginning with “. You can use colours, number of legs. For example I spy “Something that grows and birds live in”. Played with multiple children so they can compete really feed into the gamification.

Minefield
Minefield teaches children about trust and improves their communication skills. The aim is to guide a teammate through a set of obstacles whilst they are blindfolded. This helps with so many thing like,  communication skills and managing their anger issues.

Know any other good games? Please mention then in the comment, we would like to compile a full list and we will give citation out to anyone who suggest. Thanks.

 

 

Less Structured Time and Activities, leads to Kids who are Achievers

Life has it’s own structure and there is noting fixed and certain. We all know that, and yet parents very often try to discipline their kids with leading a very structured life full of structured time table and structured activity. However University of Colorado has come up with a study which says that children involved in less structured activities are better able to set their own goals, take decision and act confidently, without looking for push from parents.

outdoor-play-areaThe study, shows that kids who involve in more structured activities— like soccer practice, piano lessons and homework—had poorer self-directed executive function, which  is indicative of the ability to set and reach end desired result independently.

Executive function helps kids in different ways like flexibly switching between different tasks rather than getting bogged down by one, to stopping ones self from shouting when angry, to postponing gratification. Executive function in childhood also indicative of outcomes, like health, wealth, academic performance and criminality which surfaces years later.

Its an ongoing debate on who is correct, strict mothers on one side and more elastic parents on the other. However there is no scientific evidence to support one claim or other.

ongoing debate on who is correct, strict mothers on one side and more elastic parents on the other.

As part of the study, seventy parents of six year old, took a note of their kid’s daily activities for a week. Researchers then classified those activities as more structured or less structured. Structured activities include non-physical lessons, chores, religious activities and physical lessons. Less-structured activities include social outings, media time, free play with others, reading and sightseeing. Activities that did not count in either category were going to school, sleeping, commuting and eating meals. The children also were evaluated for self-directed executive function with a commonly used verbal fluency test.

The results showed that the more time children spent in less structured activities, the better were the scores of their self-directed executive function. Conversely, the more time children spent in more structured activities the poorer their self-directed executive function score were. The team is currently considering a longitudinal study, which would follow participants over time, to begin to answer the question of cause in a more convincing way.

6 Steps to Getting up on a Horse

Horse riding is a good adventure activity for kids. They not just enjoy horse, but horse riding also helps in keeping them active and healthy like running. But the most important part of riding horse is knowing how to get up a horse properly. So here are the steps to get up on a horse:

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1st – Safety and happiness – Make sure that both you and the horse is in happy mood. Wear your safety helmet and knee pad. Also check that saddle is properly positioned and tied on the horse so that there is no chance of it slipping when you mount the horse.

2nd – Adjust the length of the foot rest – Make sure that your leg would properly reach the leg rest on both side of the horse.

3rd – Getting up on the horse –  Go to the left side of the horse and hold the saddle while getting up on the horse. If you are short and the horse is very high, use the mounting block to climb on it. Hold the reins and saddle horn with left hand for support. With your right hand hold the back part of saddle.

4th – Push your self up – Bring your body as near as possible to the horse and don’t pull horse near you. Facing the front, put your left foot on the stirrup and push from your right leg as you shift the weight of your body on left foot as we do while climbing the ladder.

5th – Swing your left leg around – With you left leg straight so that your body is raised, quickly swing your right foot from the rare side around horse and sit down on saddle.

6th – Secure your right foot on stirrup – As soon as you sit on the horse, secure the right foot on the right stirrup and take reins in both hands. That’s it !

Have a happy ride !!!

Activities in Nature for Kids

We all accept that kids should be connected to nature and then we have certain rough ideas on what activities they can do in the wild. But when you are actually out with your kid in the wild you often find yourself short of ideas. Is that you? Than here is a list of suggestion which will never allow you to fall short of ideas.

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  • Climb a tree
  • Roll down a really big hill
  • Camp out in the wild
  • Build a den
  • Skim a stone
  • Run around in the rain
  • Fly a kite
  • Catch a fish with a net
  • Eat an apple straight from a tree
  • Play conkers
  • Throw some snow
  • Hunt for treasure on the beach
  • Make a mud pie
  • Dam a stream
  • Go sledging
  • Bury someone in the sand
  • Set up a snail race
  • Balance on a fallen tree
  • Swing on a rope swing
  • Make a mud slide
  • Eat blackberries growing in the wild
  • Take a look inside a tree
  • Visit an island
  • Feel like you’re flying in the wind
  • Make a grass trumpet
  • Hunt for fossils and bones
  • Watch the sun wake up
  • Climb a huge hill
  • Get behind a waterfall
  • Feed a bird from your hand
  • Hunt for bugs
  • Find some frogspawn
  • Catch a butterfly in a net
  • Track wild animals
  • Discover what’s in a pond
  • Call an owl
  • Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
  • Bring up a butterfly
  • Catch a crab
  • Go on a nature walk at night
  • Plant it, grow it, eat it
  • Go wild swimming
  • Go rafting
  • Light a fire without matches
  • Find your way with a map and compass
  • Try bouldering
  • Cook on a campfire
  • Try abseiling
  • Find a geocache
  • Canoe down a river

TV time swaping with time in Wild

Parents across England, were encouraged by a campaign for a week, to swap the child TV time with a little wild time. This innovative campaign was launched by intriguing new documentary film, ‘Project Wild Thing’, which was shown at over fifty theaters across UK.

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Asking your child to be out in the wild and play instead of watching TV, is a much better way for them to grow up since it pushes them towards healthy body which can contain a healthy brain, felt the filmmaker and father David Bond.

During this campaign children went out for a camp. The kids were excited to enjoy the whole morning  discovering, and playing outside. The campers experienced attractions like the Tiger Trail, Snake Trail and Life Cycles. The entire afternoon playing games, enjoying free time to shoot hoops, and making art projects. For lunch, the campers enjoyed having a “picnic” with barbeque potato which the cooked themselves.

Project Wild Thing took around three years to complete. The documentary takes a funny and moving look at critical issues of growing age – the delicate link between children and nature.

I wanted to understand why my children’s childhood is so different from mine, commented David Bond. The reasons might be that they have being disconnected from nature in their lifestyle hopping between school and internet n TV at home. We need to make space for wild to enter their daily routine to have the sort of experiences that many of the older generation took for granted.

It is important to allow kids to discover the sights, sounds and smells of nature, in any kind of green space around the house.

Many parents are increasingly becoming concerned about the dominance of TV in their kid’s lives.

Many parents are increasingly becoming concerned about the dominance of TV in their kid’s lives.

Giving just thirty extra minutes of wild time every day for kids under twelve year old would be the equivalent of around three months of their childhood spent outdoors and this statistic is really lead the parents to think hard about changing their son’s and daughter’s lifestyle.

Toxin Free, Eco-Friendly Lunch Box Options

Originally posted on RaisingNaturalKids:

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that any kind of plastic that comes into contact with food or drink is no good. When it comes down to it, plastic is made from harmful chemicals that have been linked to cancers and hormone disruption. Just because a plastic is BPA free doesn’t mean it’s safe. It just means that the BPA was replaced with another chemical, such as EA, which is still toxic. These toxins leach most in warm and moist environments, like in dishwashers, in the dish basin, or when it’s holding something moist and warm, like certain food or beverage (such as warmed milk in a bottle). For more on this, see these links: The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics and Is BPA-Free Plastic Safe? (Fox News)

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Because I do not want my children to be part of a science experiment, I chose…

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Why my kids never experience nature

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kidsgowild66:

Really lovely post from a mother to her children.

Originally posted on Hipmombrarian's Blog:

Dear Evan and Lulu,

I’m so sorry you never got to experience nature growing up. You see, the fact is parents have to choose between technology and being outside. Clearly, we chose technology. It is the same grueling decision that parents make when they have to decide whether they want their children to learn reading or math. There can only be one!

There were those 4 times we went camping every summer. The weekends we took the canoe (that we own) out on lakes throughout our beautiful state of Idaho. Oh! The trip we take to the ocean every year. A few dozen hiking adventures each summer. Skiing, snowshoeing, staying in yurts and cabins in the winter. Fishing, biking, and swimming when we can fit it in (obviously your technology addiction takes up most of your time.)

I’ve heard from hundreds of concerned folks since I posted this blog who…

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Real Learning is a Creative Process

Originally posted on Creative by Nature:

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”    ~Albert Einstein

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Real and meaningful learning is a creative process. Skills and knowledge cannot be downloaded like computer software, they must be acquired and mastered– through long-term application, experimentation and effort.

Those who have studied successful skill mastery describe a common process that is followed, one that requires practice, effort, patience and deep concentration. This is as true for basketball, chemistry and guitar playing as it is for cooking, painting, karate, engineering, parenting and brain surgery.

Take the example of language learning. All children are born with the natural ability to…

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Schools with natural habitat leads to less stress

Schools is the place where children spend about one forth of their student life. Hence contact with nature has great effect on the psyche of growing minds as has been revealed by a research done by professor Louise Chawla of CU-Boulder.
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Playing in school yards with natural habitats and trees has a positive effect on a child’s well-being and social and emotional balance. More over children who grow near natural habitat have better attention capacity. Among the children interviewed, 96 percent of those within first through fourth grades chose to play in nature even when they had the option of  going to a playground or to an athletic field. Since in the natural surrounding, the kids can freely engaged in exploratory and sensory-based activities. A little older children could cooperatively organize activities like building forts and trading found objects which they found exciting.
According to this thesis in the journal Health & Place gardening assignments in such settings also produces stress-reducing benefits for children who feel burdened by education.

Although schools offer stress management programs, in which they teach individuals on how to deal with stress. But wouldn’t it be nice if they created and environment which is stress-reducing feels Louise Chawla.

Schools offer stress management programs, in which they teach individuals on how to deal with stress. But wouldn’t it be nice if they created and environment which is stress-reducing feels Louise Chawla.

The research found that natural-terrain like dirt, scrub oak and water features in the schoolyards, foster supportive relationships and feelings of competence. Hence even artificial natural-habitat landscaping in schoolyard can have positive impacts on children.

This research consists of more than twelve hundred hours of observation. Students, teachers, parents and alumni were interviewed and their answers were coded with keywords for the research. Twenty-five percent of the students described the green area as “peaceful” or “calm” after an assignment on nature.
Among the little older teenage participants, the reaction was that of feeling connected to a natural living system; successfully caring for living things; and having time for quiet self-reflection.

For schools interested in providing natural habitats for students  creating joint-use agreements with city parks and open space can be a possible solution, as Chawla suggested.

7 Tips for Parents of young kids, on Adventure Trip

Adventure activities and trips for kids is gradually becoming popular in UK. It is seen by parents as important for their kids overall development. Hence more and more parents are either taking their kids out personally or allowing some adventure organization to take care of the same.

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However, we should remember:

Adventure quenches a child’s life thirst… But safety comes first.

Hence, we decided to come up with some useful tips on safety that parents should ensure when their kids are out for adventure.

  1. Appropriate footwear. You should make sure your kid is wearing suitable footwear especially for activities which might involve slippery or uneven surfaces.
  2. Your child should wash hands thoroughly with germ disinfectant soap, after any kind of adventure activity.
  3. Explain to your child that they should not put anything in his or her mouth under any circumstance with the desire to experiment.
  4. If your child is enjoying near soil, animals or natural water sources, you should take care that any cuts or wounds should be covered with waterproof plasters to avoid infection.
  5. You kid should have you or a supervisor around them at all times during these adventure activities. If you can’t be around, make sure they know how to easily and immediately get to you at all time.
  6. Appropriate clothing for activities involving water or snow. If you child is playing with water or snow, you should make sure that he or she is wearing warm and weather resistant clothes.
  7. Lastly, Weather report check, of the area where the activity is going to take place, is a must. Make sure to avoid trees or natural water sources in wet or windy conditions.

Hope that advice will be helpful for all the parents. We wish your kids many happy adventures.