How to Teach Children According to Their Interests: 7 Steps
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Let your child lead you to the best tools and materials for teaching her.


Some children act as though they have no interest in learning anything -- but the real problem may be they have no interest in what you're trying to teach them. Young children are not resistant to learning; on the contrary, they're natural scientists. They're programmed to learn by exploring their world, observing and experimenting. They're drawn to what fascinates them. Instead of trying to force your child to learn what you want, you can use her interests as a springboard to understanding many different concepts.

Steps

  1. 1
    Watch your child for signs of interest. You'll know she's fascinated by something when her big eyes fix on it and she looks on in sheer amazement, such as when she sees a butterfly land on a flower. She may light up when you pull a game out of the closet or the pots and pans out of the cupboard.
  2. 2
    Take advantage of her interest as a learning opportunity. Allow her to explore or touch things, as long as they are safe and age appropriate. Give her a moment as you watch where she goes or what she does.
  3. 3
    Ask her questions. Starting a conversation is an effective way to help her explore any topic. For toddlers, it's also helpful in stimulating language development and helping her learn to express herself. If she's amazed by an animal outside your window, ask her what it is, what it's doing and why she thinks it's doing that.
  4. 4
    Collect some resources to expand the lessons on whatever interests your child. If playing with water fascinates your child, get a small plastic pool or a large storage container you can fill up in the yard. Put measuring cups and spoons, colanders, squirt bottles and other interesting tools your child can experiment with out for her. Borrow books about water from the library or find child-friendly websites about water that you can explore together. Make an audio file of some children's songs about water-related topics, like rain or splashing around in the bath tub, and teach the songs to your child.
  5. 5
    Plan field trips around your child's interests. If your child likes animals, go to the zoo; if your child likes water, go to the swimming pool. Visit a children's museum that has an exhibit that might revolve around your child's interests, or go for a walk through a nature trail.
  6. 6
    Use the object of your child's interest to introduce new concepts. For example, if your child is interested in monkeys, use them to teach about the letter "M." Teach your child to count with the game, "Five Little Monkeys." Get out the crayons and learn about the color brown. Look at a map to find where monkeys live.
  7. 7
    Give your child some tools to get creative and express herself based on her interests. Let her make a drawing or a poster about what she's learned; help her label parts of a monkey or list monkey facts you've looked up together. Use a box and some toys to help her create a diorama. Help her make a monkey mask or costume, or put on a little skit together about monkeys. Let your little monkey exhaust her own interest as she sees fit, until she finds something else that fascinates her.

Things You'll Need

  • Resources
  • References
  • Paper
  • Pencils or crayons
  • Craft supplies

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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