I have the pleasure of participating in a blog tour for Mariah Bruehl's debut book, Playful Learning: Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder. I've enjoyed her blog for some time, and am loving her book now as well.
Mariah, a former teacher and curriculum developer, has written a book full of learning ideas that parents can use at home with their children, ages 4 to 8. She makes education accessible for everyone, which I think is key for those of us without backgrounds in education. I especially like her tip about not pushing learning, but rather following your children's lead and interests and fitting these experiences in naturally.
- Nurturing Young Authors
- The Joy of Reading
- Mathematicians at Work
- Scientific Investigations
- Exploration of Art and Artists
- Growing Globally
- Raising the Citizens of Tomorrow
Each chapter offers between six and ten learning activities that can be easily explored at home (and I can see many of them being used in a classroom setting as well). Each activity includes how-to information, a list of "books to inspire", and a section that helps parents prepare for the experience and stay "one step ahead"–which is all she claims is really necessary.
As always, I want to try everything in the book! So far, we've explored a couple of the mapmaking exercises–From the Heart (pictured below) and Mapping My House: A Treasure Hunt. Both were excellent learning and bonding experiences.
For From the Heart, Maia and I both created maps of our hearts. Following Mariah's instructions, we drew hearts on watercolor paper with permanent markers then added pictures to represent the people, places, and things that we care most deeply about.
Maia included kittens, rainbows, books, and a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin (among other things) in her heart. We painted our hearts with watercolors and have plans to frame and hang them–perhaps a whole family of heart maps. Harry has shown interest in making one as well, and I'm sure Daphne would love to draw and paint in a heart.
I loved this idea as soon as I saw it in Playful Learning and I love it even more upon creation. Besides spending time thinking about and creating a visual representation of what is important to us (which I think is great in itself), Mariah suggests keeping these heart maps near the child's writing desk to use as inspiration when writing. She also recommends making new heart maps each year as the child grows up, which we will definitely do!
Developing my daughters' sense of joy and wonder is important to me, so this book is right up my alley. I look forward to exploring more of the learning ideas and activities with them soon.
For a chance to win a copy of Mariah Bruehl's book, Playful Learning: Develop Your Child's Sense of Joy and Wonder as well as a space in her 6 week fall e-course Playful Learning Spaces, leave a comment here by Monday, August 22nd at 9pm EST. The winner will be picked randomly and announced on Tuesday, August 23rd.