Do you ever watch your child in amazement and think about how much they learn every day? It's remarkable! I have heard that a person learns more before the age of four than they do for the rest of their lives after that. In fact Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google, credit their success (worth over $6 billion each!) to what they learned in Montessori preschool. So if you have experienced “preschool panic” as we blogged about a few weeks ago, perhaps you will feel justified in your quest to find the perfect preschool.

Having some experience with the Montessori method, I can say with confidence, that the philosophy of fostering a love for learning can take children a long way on their educational path and emotional development. Creating fun environments for learning can make addition and subtraction seem like fun & games.

Feel like creating an environment of learning at home? Well, when everyone starts feeling a little squirrly around our house and no one can seem to find anything to occupy themselves with, we often play a game we invented (which was a fun and creative pursuit in itself) called the “Smartie Pants Trivia Game”. It can take place anywhere with no materials required except a bit of imagination. Our games, for some reason or another, can only take place in the kitchen between the doorway and the stove...I’m sure you will find your unique place in your home. Here’s how it works:

Parent asks child questions that are appropriate for their own level, so children of any age can play together. Of course, it’s just as fun to play with only one player. For every correct response, they get to take a step forward. For every incorrect answer they can just stay where they are. We tend to give “2nd” or even “3rd chances” on incorrect answers to encourage the kiddies to work through the process of coming up with the correct answer. Controversial I know, to create competition between siblings but you’ve got to do what works for your family!

So, for a child who is 4 years old for example, you might ask them to name the city, province, country or continent they live in. For an older child, you might ask them to recite their address, phone number or other important safety information you think they should know. Of course, we always pull out the math questions and spelling, geography and those related to the animal world. The winner at our house gets a “special treat” which is usually a big hug from mum. That one seems to be wearing thin, but always elicits some giggles and a chase around the kitchen to catch my hug! Honestly, my children can hardly contain themselves when we play “Smartie Pants”. I hope you find it as much fun as we do!

Feel free to add your own creative "rules" to the game and be sure to drop us a line and let us know how you're making learning fun at your house!