Like most kids, I went to public school–not delightful education by any means. But I didn’t realize until I was a grown-up with my own kids how incredibly delightful my childhood was. Sometimes I look at my kids and think, this is it…this is their childhood happening right now. And it takes my breath away for a minute. I can only hope that they look back at their days as imaginative little kids as fondly as I do.
My mother’s creativity is boundless. A pile of sticks to her is a tablescape, a sheet is a Halloween costume, a candle is a mood-setter. I remember many October 30th nights going to sleep to the sound of her sewing machine. She set our imaginations in motion and gave us the space and the freedom to create, explore, find beauty, and escape to different worlds nearly every day.
That is what I remember of my childhood–the imaginative delight.
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What is a delightful education?
My definition is this: giving your kids enough space in their day that is unstructured, free, unplanned so that they can find what they really love, do what they are interested in and let their minds grow organically. It’s all about adding mystery, curiosity, creativity, and imagination into their everyday. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to plan or do anything at all.
Adding delight to the everyday
Related: 50 Amazing Tools that Will Add to a Delightful Education
What does Enchanted Education Look Like Though?
If this idea is new to you, and you’re like me, you probably want some solid examples of what an enchanted education could look like. Here’s some ideas.
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- Go on simple nature walks–no journal, no bag of stuff…just walk and look and say what you see.
- Create a mud kitchen outside.
- Put up bird feeders outside. We really want to put up the kind you can see the inside from your window.
- Make a fairy garden.
- Have lots of bird and nature guides on hand. We love bird guides by state. Also, Jack is super interested in mushrooms right now, so this one is coming in really handy.
- Go on field trips–as many as you can.
- Set aside a few minutes each week to set a pretty table and have a poetry tea. We started doing this this year and it has been so great.
- Practice strewing. Place things around the house to get your kids interested in learning. Strew about puzzles, art supplies, educational magazines, fun fandex, and beautiful books they won’t be able to leave alone.
- Give them audiobooks to play in their room while they’re putting together Legos.
- Have a family read aloud time. Light the fire, pass out cocoa and read together. Here is a list of our favorite family read alouds.
Special Occasions for a Delightful Education
- Start special traditions for birthdays like “donut cake” for breakfast.
- Let them look forward to receiving a Summer Basket on the last day of school each year.
- Make May Day baskets and run around to neighbor’s houses, ring the doorbell, and RUN!
- Have special meals on holidays that you only serve on that day.
- Do something special for Advent that you repeat every year.
Cozy Bedroom Spaces
- Help your kids keep their rooms tidy so they have room to play.
- Make their beds with cozy quilts and soft sheets, enticing them to cozy in at night and read.
- Create a reading nook. All you really need is a chair or even a few floor pillows and a small space for a stack of books or a bookshelf.
- Carve out room for your kids to have a desk space in their room. Even an old end table from Goodwill would be fine. Stock it with stickers, envelopes, cheap stationery from the dollar section at Michael’s and give them space to create at their desk–write notes and letters, draw, journal.
These are some things I found when I really looked around our house and thought of things we’ve done in the past. I’m sure you’re doing some of these things and more in your home too. Search for imaginative creativity today. That extra bit of language arts you were going to do this afternoon?
Give them some space to play.