Author: Ana De Guzman of Redfin
As learning at home becomes the new normal, dedicating a space for children to learn at home is important. Taking the settings from the traditional classroom and creating one at home, there are many ways to enhance learning at home for kids. So whether you want to spruce up your playroom to include a learning corner (or to create a new space), professionals share their insights on how to enhance learning at home.
Provide an emotionally supportive learning environment
Providing children with an emotionally safe and supportive environment encourages children to try new things, make mistakes, learn and grow and allows them to explore their emotions without fear of judgment or punishment. Spaces that promote collaboration and conversation may be set up in a circle or with materials to collaborate (e.g. poster boards, group games, etc.), while spaces that promote self-reflection may be set up with more privacy or comforting materials (e.g. sensory activities, journaling and mindfulness tools, etc.) Try out a basket with sensory play objects. For many kids, using and exploring sensory play can help them deescalate when they’re feeling overstimulated. – Action for Healthy Kids
Add variety to their seating options
Ensure your child has access to traditional and flexible seating. Use an exercise ball, lap desk, standing desk, floor pillow, or fidget stool to provide an option for movement while learning. Variable seating helps ensure that at-home learners move their bodies while working. – The Siena School
Designate a place for everything when it’s time to clean up
Every parent knows how quickly toys, books, and homework start to clutter in every room of the house. That’s why it is important for kids to have a space that is just theirs. To keep it clean and organized, get them involved in the process of creating the space and make sure they understand where each item should “live” when it’s not being used. Kids take pride in caring for their things, give them a chance to do this. – Inspired Motherhood
Label boxes, put on music and set up different stations
We like to label all of our toy boxes, so at the end of the day, everyone helps to put away the mess. It is easier to clean when you know exactly where things belong.
Free play is a great way to learn. We usually play one of our favorite composers in the background as our kids explore puzzles, shapes, and imagination play.
A great idea is setting up corner stations. You can divide your space up into a “blocks” station, “reading”, “animals/”, “color”, “shapes” etc. – The KéKAY Method
Add theme-based activities to keep children engaged
Create theme-based activities for children to explore and change them out every week. Much like curriculum is often created around themes in a classroom setting, a learning corner works best when it encourages children to explore themes in a fun and interactive way. Every week, commit to educating your child around a particular theme such as colors or seasons and fill the corner with books, activities, and sight words that help the child to explore that theme. – Shoonya Kids
Stimulate new ideas and enhance creativity
Select a cozy, comfortable, well lit and ventilated space in your house with minimal movements. This would ensure focus and attention.
What is more soothing than having some greens around? You can have small green plants in this space for that soothing vibe. A positive environment fosters positive learning, leading to wonderful learning outcomes. Children would love working in this environment. – Totto Learning
Making a learning space doesn’t need to be expensive
Pretend play – you can use a large Amazon box to create an indoor store or shop that can be filled with different empty and clean grocery items like milk containers, egg cartons, margarine tubs, etc. You can design the box, mark and organize labels accordingly. A great way to introduce math, language, and vocabulary skills. – Kids & Kaboodles LLC
Expand the learning space to all areas of the home
Indeed you need a “school desk” arranged for practical instruction, but don’t think you need to keep school only at a desk, particularly for younger children. Education is a lifelong journey, so find ways you can expand learning beyond your child’s home-based classroom. Exploring outside, helping prepare lunch, taking a field trip to a local museum or just reading a book in the backyard or a different area of the house all enhance learning from home. – Rudolf Steiner School
Keep the learning space organized
Make your learning corner more organized and inviting by attaching cups or baskets to a pegboard on the wall. Use different colors and textures to decorate the organizers – kids can even help. Label each section to keep tools and supplies where they belong. – Mommy High Five
Set up learning in the kitchen
The kitchen is a great way to integrate children’s learning at home while simultaneously creating a positive relationship with healthy food. By labeling where everything is and keeping fresh produce and healthy staples at arms reach, children are able to interact with their home “food environment” and practice healthy eating habits at a young age. Additionally, by having a grocery list on the fridge with fresh produce and healthy food pictures on magnets, kids can participate in what ends up in their kitchen at home. – Kids in Nutrition
Up the education for energetic children
Learning happens all over the house, not just in a corner, that’s why we Wednesday Moms have come up with three quick kits that you can easily store away to use in a learning corner, education couch, or wherever your little one learns.
Have a little extra energy to burn? Load up an old milk crate with foam dumbbells, agility cones and ladder, a collapsible balance beam, and stepping stones. Have them build (and use) an obstacle course to burn off their energy so they can focus on learning.
Need to up the education? A tri-fold poster board with flashcards sticky tacked to the board and a homemade pointer (all from the dollar store) are all you need to smarten up any corner. Bonus: it fits under the bed when not in use.
Kiddos need to fidget? A simple musical jewelry box filled with colorful bracelets serves as an excellent introduction to science concepts while helping your kids master their fine motor skills, learn parts of the body, understand simple machines, learn their colors and so much more. Bonus, when they dump the bracelets on the floor, it’s easy to pick up and it’s small enough it can be stored nearly anywhere. – The Wednesday Mom
Make sure to add pops of colors in their space
Creating a learning corner at home can be so fun for kids, especially with virtual learning more popular now. Make sure to add pops of colors, easily done by displaying colored paper, crayons, and markers. Leave things easily accessible, open-faced cubicles and organization tables. Easy access to books and other learning tools so they see them and want to use them all make great tips to create a great learning space for your children. – Quirky Workin’ Moms
Add fun elements to learning at home
Encourage kids to use the learning corner by making it fun. Make it bright and colorful, install a hanging egg chair, and fill a bookshelf with thoughtful literature that features beautiful illustrations. – Thrifty Nifty Mommy
Encourage a bilingual environment
Did you know that learning a second language at an early age helps kids develop problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking skills? Set up your space for bilingual learning by filling shelves with books in multiple languages (Canticos bilingual board books are perfect for the littlest learners) and incorporate artwork from around the world into your decor to surround your child with inspiration from other cultures. Continue your child’s learning adventure with Canticos in the Encantos app. – Canticos
Build an obstacle course to spark creativity
We at allround love to encourage creativity and fun with learning goals. What if parents were to create a small obstacle course that their kids have to cross to get in and out of their learning corner? Simply add up a chair, a stool, some pillows and cushions, a bedspread, and a couple of towels to construct a basic obstacle course for your kid to cross. It will get them physically active and mentally ready for class. change bits around to add variety. – allround
Make a list of essential supplies
Have these essential supplies: Alene’s Tacky glue, a set of paint pots, two paint brushes (round and flat tip), a box of scrap paper, and a ball jar of colored markers that can be transformed into a water container dumping the markers and a nature book. All these items can fit nicely into a shoebox to be picked up and stored away at a moment’s notice. A child picks their animal or flower depending on the nature book you choose, learn about it, and then recreate their version. What would it look like if they had green fur instead of brown? – Caron Designs
Add items that spark conversations
I believe finding a balance between simplicity and creativity is important when creating learning spaces at home. Remove clutter and distraction as much as you can, while replacing it with items that spark conversations and thinking in your children. Our base was the dining room table but we also had a world map in lieu of my usual dining room artwork, a ‘calendar’ similar to what they would see at school, and even brought in ‘special helper’ responsibilities. You are not a school so don’t try to be. Keep it simple, comfortable, and creative. Maybe a decorative jar of fidget toys in the center of the table for when minds start to wander! – Time with Tiffany
See how Refin features Kids In Nutrition under "Set up learning in the kitchen"!