(StatePoint) There's no reason that learning should stop once the bell rings. When concepts are reinforced at home, not only do children learn faster, they are better prepared to excel in school. Whether your children are in preschool or are already in grade school, there are many bright ideas out there that can give kids an extra academic edge.
Your world is a classroom that can provide an abundance of lesson plans. Start in your own home by exploring key concepts around the house. From using measuring cups in the kitchen to identifying shapes in the playroom, there are lessons to be learned in every room.
The new "Get Ready for School" series by DK includes "I'm Ready for School," an interactive book that helps toddlers practice colors, numbers and more. Proceeds from the book series support PBS KIDS, which uses the power of media to help prepare children for success in school and in life.
Once you've mastered the house, take the show on the road. Visit museums, the aquarium or even the park around the block for learning opportunities.
Encourage the idea that learning is fun by introducing educational games into your child's daily routine. Games are a great way to make lessons stick and help a child grasp new ideas.
Check out "Get Ready for School Games: Number Memory," a math card game that show numbers 1-10 arranged in set order with everyday objects and number words to help toddlers practice adding and taking away up to 10, sharing, and grouping. It's an easy-to-understand visual approach to real-life problem-solving. A companion game, "Color Match," introduces kids to words and colors with timed memory challenges and activities.
Also consider "The Incredible Math Games Book," which blurs the lines between practicing math and play. With interactive games like "Find the Fraction," "Subtraction Action," and Dancing Dice," kids can learn key math concepts minus the homework.
Help your budding writer find her literary voice by encouraging her to write fictional stories or report on "news" events from around the neighborhood for the house newspaper. Make sure she is well-equipped to handle her writing assignments with the help of a classic reference tool, DK's Merriam-Webster Children's Dictionary -- now updated and revised to include modern words like "smartphone," "MP3" and "graphic novel," as well as new countries, borders, flags and cities.
Round out your child's education with music lessons, which can improve motor skills, build self-confidence and help impart cultural values. Many music stores rent instruments, which can be a low commitment way to test out your child's interest. Check out options for lessons in your area or even just find free tutorials online.
When the school day is over, don't let young minds go on strike. Through activities, music and even games, you can make stress-free learning happen round-the-clock.