While the world has been closed, I have been doing a lot of thinking. I’ve been figuring what I want to keep from my long list of priorities and what I have just been holding onto because I think it is supposed to be important. One thing that has been at the top of the list is education and how JustaBXgirl will receive her education going forward.
Distance learning has been okay for us. JustaBXgirl doesn’t seem to have fallen behind and in many ways, it has shown me that she is ahead of the game more than I thought. Thinking ahead to the next school year, I am not certain that I will be comfortable sending her back into a school building. I know that I say this from a place of privilege, where I can make it work keeping her home to be schooled and everyone is not that fortunate. We live in a highly-populated area, where even at 7am public transportation is at capacity. I don’t want my child on that. She goes to a school with less than 400 students and has never had more than 25 children in her class. That’s a blessing in an NYC public school. Still, that is not a small enough class for me to feel comfortable that she will be able to social distance. Let’s be real, adults haven’t been doing a great job at it. How do we expect elementary school students to master the rules?
I began writing this post before the CDC suggested guidelines were released for schools. Reading them made me even more hesitant to send my baby back into a school building. I also know though that when I attempt to sit down and “teach” her, things don’t always go according to plan so I have been figuring out other ways to bring education to the table. We all know that some amazing brands do amazing things with educational toys. This isn’t about those. This is about how we use all the toys and games we have at our disposal to bring out the lessons our littles need to learn. I’ve always like to share different ways to use products with you but now I feel like I really need to see how items can go with our new normal. Here are a few of the items that have been helping me to educate and entertain JustaBXgirl these last few weeks.
Pop The Pig – This is great for working with littles on colors and numbers but it is even better to use when discussing things like nutrition and digestion. Yes, the game itself doesn’t go that in-depth but if you work on a lesson with your littles it is a great way to reward them or even introduce the topic to them.
Virus – This game is very timely! It is about preventing and spreading viruses. It is a quick play card game but again can be used to introduce topics and reward lessons well done. JustaBXgirl loves it. It is recommended for ages 8 and up to six players. I think that it can go a few years younger if the child can keep up.
Celestial Buddies – JustaBXgirl actually has one of these in her classroom. It sits in the peace corner and is available for snuggles when littles need a break. Seeing the Celestial Buddies package arrive at home brought her a sense of peace that I haven’t seen in a while. She was really excited to show her friends in her video class that she has one of her own. These work not only because they are plushies and allow children to snuggle and calm their excited/unnerved emotions they also help to teach about the solar system. And my favorite part is they include Pluto as a planet!
Antsy Pants Fire Truck Kit – We have seen Antsy Pants products for years and have shared various products from the brand with you over the years such as our dino friend. JustaBXgirl has had tons of fun playing with the sets at events but I have been hesitant around bringing the fun home because of our small abode. Being stuck inside full time, I’ve let go of some of my concerns in order to keep her happy and entertained. I’m very happy that I finally allowed the set into the house. First of all, these building sets are awesome because they don’t take up much space (when in pieces). And they’re space-efficient because you can use the building parts with different covers to create brand new adventures. I know, I know, but what does this have to do with education? The Fire Truck Kit is awesome to talk about community helpers and essential workers. Yup, we are covering social studies through play. Also, JustaBXgirl is big enough to help put the kit together so that counts as engineering, right? She helps me to read the directions, which happen to be pictures so even non-readers can assist.
Star Wars Crochet Finger Puppet – I never learned to crochet. There are a lot of skills that seem to get lost over generations and when we talk about educating our littles we need to think of the skills that we have and those that we don’t. I love seeing how friends and family bring blankets, scarves, and more to life by using yarn. I thought that this would be a fun way for both, me and JustaBXgirl to learn. We could make the dolls and then she has a keepsake to remember our lessons, dolls to take on adventures, which in turn grows her creativity and imagination. Oh, and since these are Star Wars, that leads to a whole new education that is to be had!
I’ll be trying to keep these posts as part of a series. I think that as a whole we should be looking at this time as an opportunity to grow and see what works. This type of education won’t work for everyone but I am excited to see how it continues to work in our home and share what does and doesn’t work with you.