As a parent and a teacher, I sometimes get caught up and find myself nine clicks down an internet rabbit-hole of new parenting methods or ways of learning. I end up feeling panicked that I'm not doing enough structured teaching with my kids or discouraged that everyone else seems to be pinteresting through their days with educational tools while my toddler ends up squished flat in the zero gravity deck chair Venus-fly-trap-style (That happened. Yesterday).
So if you've ever witnessed someone else's child read a chapter book at the age of three and you've wondered if spotting the Golden Arches from 6 miles away is an acceptable toddler reading level, I've compiled a few teacher buzzwords and my shameless application of them just for you.
1. Tactile learning. Hands-on learning is important. I like to drop this casually as my toddler grinds food into the table with her hands instead of primly eating with her fork.
2. Exploratory learning. You know, what your kid does at library story-time while all the other children are calmly sitting in a circle.
3. Play-based learning. Enough said.
4. Integrated technology. I'm not saying that a seven-hour drive, an IPad and a car seat are integral to this teaching method. I'm just implying it.
5. Child-centered learning. While it might seem tricky at first to allow your child to guide their own learning, you'll be able to clearly identify your child's interests by the number of times they repeat them, over and over and over, beginning with the key word, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom..."
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Hold the angry pedagogical emails! I'm (sort of) kidding!
Fortunately for me and maybe even you, all of the early literacy studies for kids boil down to the same thing. If you're going to do ONE thing with your kids to increase their vocabulary, their imagination, their future reading capabilities, read to them.
So all joking aside, that, my friends, I can commit to do. I love books and my kids love books. We are frequent flyers at our local library but sometimes it's tricky to find books that engage my offspring and that don't make me want to throw myself off a page skipping/highly abridged cliff (here's looking at you, Dr. Seuss!).
Purchasing books is even more daunting. SO. MANY. OPTIONS.
Enter The Story Box.
This is one of the coolest ideas for kids I have ever heard. If you're based in the U.S. and you're looking for a gift for babies or toddlers, look no further. The Story Box sends out a monthly box of fun for your kids. It includes books that are specifically tailored to their age, are bright, captivating and come with a sheet of suggested activities (hello, cheat sheet!) that align with the book to try out with your child if you so desire.
We received our own special box this last month.
|The Story Box|
Emily felt so special getting mail and enjoyed opening the brightly coloured package.
I didn't tell my husband where Emily's new favourite book came from and he remarked to me how much he enjoyed it after putting her to bed. It's fun, it's a fantastic story and Emily can now recite each page with us, a sure sign of engagement from her.
She even picks it to peruse for her quiet (and unfortunately frequent) time outs.
|It ain't easy being three. #threenager|
The board book sent for Gabrielle engaged both girls. Sometimes board books can be boring (see what I did there?) for parents but this story, Dig!, which goes through five different back hoe jobs is fun, practical and Gabrielle loves picking out the puppy on each page.
|Good luck with that.|
A high-quality book collection curated for me is exactly the kind of toy I want more of in my house. Incorporating two quality books a month into your routine is doable, in no way overwhelming and has huge results for your child's growth. For me, this is one of the best and economical gifts out there.
If you're in the U.S., make sure you check out The Story Box! You can follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and I love their Pinterest page (I know, I just used 'love' and 'Pinterest' in the same sentence, crazy) because they share lists of great books, reading websites and so much more!
So I guess the only thing that could improve this fantastic service for me is expansion to Canada. Hint hint, guys! :-)
We received a complimentary Story Box but all opinions (as always) are our own,
especially the toddler's.