Can I tell you about a book? (I know you've never had a recommendation of a book from me before.)
Playful Learning: Develop your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder by Mariah Bruehl. I can't get Amazon to let me link it or I would. I love the cover. Maybe it's the freshly sharpened colored pencils. I don't know. I just love it. What I love even more is how very much it is helping me make sense of the murky world of helping my children learn. She provides activities to help support reading, writing, math, science and social skills for children ages 4-8. She outlines the learning process...the stages they go through as they develop in each area. She speaks to me in a way I can understand. I feel as though I've been given vocabulary, understanding and processes for implementation that I can use and not just think about.
Recently Mowg came home from school having learned about volcanoes and earthquakes. He was pretty excited about them. He showed us how the plates worked by separating some cracked asphalt for us. As a result of this book I was tuned in a little better to that excitement. Tiny and I made a volcano with salt dough (not in enough time for it to dry mind you) and when Mowg came home from school we mixed a little red jello with some baking soda and added it to some vinegar. The eruptions were fun to make and watch. Once we were done with that we let the kids mix the mess all together to their hearts content. It was an enjoyable evening and dare I say a bit of a learning one. We had fun. We experimented. We played. All of us, together. Mariah Bruehl didn't recommend this activity or provide directions for it. She simply gave me the tools to be aware and take the opportunities as they were presented. If you haven't seen this book, please check it out. It is amazing. Thank you Mariah Bruehl for writing this book.
(PS I have no affiliation or connection with this author or the publisher. I just love the book. That's all.)