Have you got the kind of kid who spends hours watching ants and butterflies? If you do – or wish you did – you might be interested to know their interest is one that can naturally work to reinforce what they’re learning about writing in school. Here’s how:
- To write effectively, you need to be able to think in a clear fashion. That means that someone who can’t tell you this happened and this happened and then this happened, or this caused this to happen, is someone who cannot tell about their day. You’ve seen it yourself when someone tells you something and keeps going back in forth in time in a way that is confusing. So, if your kid can tell you about what they saw, they are working on that skill – without purposely working on that skill.
- To describe something, you need to be able to observe it closely. Whether your kid is writing an essay or a longer piece, details are important to help the reader see what you see as a writer. If your kid can tell you about the ant’s struggle to bring a morsel back to the nest, that helps to develop attention to detail – without purposely working on that skill.
- Curiosity is the first step to research. Believe me. As a science writer, I know more bits of information about more things than I’d care to count. It all starts with being curious. So, if your kid is curious about bugs, get some books from the library. Consider heading to the young kid section to start because books for young kids present concepts in a clear and simple way. They also usually have terrific illustrations. Your kid will get information from a variety of sources and learn the process of gathering and synthesizing information – without purposely working on that skill.
I’m a firm believer that childhood should incorporate fun along the way, so here are three places for kid-friendly activities:
- The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has an X Kids program with an activity booklet you can download for your kid. They also have a new podcast, Bug Banter, for you.
- Pollinator Partnership has a Pollinator Activity booklet for kids you can download, along with many other resources on their Education page under the Resources > Learning Center menu item.
- The Bee Conservancy, a non-profit focused on saving bees, has free activities and resources to download for kids, too.