Do Kids Need "Stuff" to Learn? Not Really! Parents, Here's What They Do Need! by Barbara Sheridan
Parents always ask me, “Do I have enough stuff for learning; do I have too much?”
Children innately find a way to learn what they need to learn whether they have stuff or not. It all comes down to exposure. If they sit in a room all day that is nearly empty then yes, they will have no exposure. This would also never happen in an environment where you are thoughtful about learning. Kids live in the world, experience the world and are curious about the world.
My kids loved farms and their only exposure to farms was passing them in the car. That was the only thing they needed to become interested. They were driven to learn about farms and we didn’t need stuff to do it. Learning without stuff does not mean depriving children of materials, it means providing information without emphasis on material possessions as a primary source.
As kids get older developmentally, they are cognitively able to play with ideas in their heads, so naturally the need for stuff declines and other resources become more effective. But in early childhood, kids will play with whatever materials they have – they will change and redefine items to be what they need as long as their toys are not too prescriptive.
So, the key is understanding how to use resources and experiences on the learning journey.
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