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At-Home Activities

Dear Debi,
I'm a provider at a preschool. And we encourage the parents to link activities we do with learning opportunities at home. But how can we further encourage parents to extend learning experiences for their kids?
Consuelo, El Segundo, CA
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
  • Establish a positive relationships with parents
  • Share what children are learning with parents
  • Send activities and ideas home
Expert Advice
Mike Salas
Mike Salas
Pre-school teacher
There are lots of examples of activities I send home with kids to do with their parents. If the kids are learning colors and shapes as part of the curriculum, I will send them home with an art activity kit. It’s filled with markers, crayons, water colors, and play dough. I tell parents to use these kits at home with their kids. I tell them to allow the kids to do whatever they want with it. Then the kids usually bring back what they made to share with the rest of the kids.

In order to encourage parents to extend learning at home, it’s important for child care providers and parents to have good communication and develop a good relationship. You should work in partnership to help your kids learn. So the better the communication and relationship between you and the parent, the more likely parents will be involved in what their kids are learning in care and want to get involved in extending the learning by doing activities at home. And these activities can be ones given to parents by child care providers or parents doing things on their own to continue reinforce things that their kids learn in care, because they are communicating well with child care providers and are very informed on what their kids are currently learning.

There are plenty of informal activities that can be done at home to continue your child’s learning. Such as playing guessing games in the car when driving around doing errands, pointing out different shapes or colors. Even sorting out clean socks from the laundry and having kids fold them. These are all activities that parents can use to follow through with kids’ learning. In fact I think the best activities are ones that kids enjoy doing together with their parents which are everyday type of activities. That way, kids feel like they are helping out, yet they are gaining fine motor skills, language skills, vocabulary, and math skills from just counting socks. These are all great ways to continue to help your child learn at home.

Other ideas include setting up a bulletin board by the door for parents to see or handing out flyers that describe what kids learned that day and suggesting what parents can do to continue and reinforce their learning. I leave handouts by the door so that parents can just grab one when they come by to pick up kids. When they get home, they can read it and try some of the suggestions in the handout. I also do a newsletter about once a week. In it, we suggest things such as cutting out coupons, or we’ll give parents a simple recipe for homemade play dough – things that parents can do with their kids. I try to use simple and easy suggestions for parents to continue teaching their kids at home.
Child Care provider Comments
Karolina Ramirez
Karolina Ramirez
Child care provider for 6 years
I try to encourage parents to get involved with what their kids are learning by making sure I share with them what their kids are doing. I do that by setting up a bulletin board by the door. On it, we suggest to parents to read to their kids 20 minutes per day, teach children safety procedures during emergencies, and have all kinds of suggestions as to how they can take an opportunity to interact and teach their kids.
Child care provider for 3 years
I think it’s important for kids’ education to continue when they go home at the end of the day. In order for that to happen, we need to work together with parents to make sure they understand that as providers we’re just trying to help the kids out as much as possible. I definitely suggest to parents to extend the learning day into the home. Some are a little reluctant but once they see the progress the kids make, they become encouraged to continue. I think that having parents follow through at home, kids are shown a positive message and taught that learning doesn’t just end because they’ve left the providers home. I think it actually reinforces the idea that they are learning all the time.
Parent Comments
Mother of 3-year-old girl
My daughter’s child care has the children take home activities every day, except Fridays. These activities are such that she needs me to be with her to guide her through it. That way I become involved in what’s going on in care and help her learn.

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Topic: Child Care Management
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