Mealtime is an opportune time for no pressure learning. This can be done simply with the use of strategically picked placemats. Awhile back, I saw a young boy on a talk show who had memorized all of the presidents, the order they were president, and an interesting fact about each one. When the parents were asked how this young boy could know all of this information, their answer was simple: a placemat. They had found an inexpensive placemat with presidents on it for their son. They were surprised when, at meal time, he would ask questions about each president. The parents would answer his questions, and his learning grew.
I thought to myself, what a great idea! Kids are sitting at the table eating and conversing. Why not try an alphabet, number, or geography placemat as conversation starters? I’ve heard of kids not only asking for the names of the letters on an alphabet placemat, but the sound the letter makes and a word that starts with that letter as well. It then turns into a game with the kids as they want their parents to ask them questions such as: “What letter makes the ‘ssssss’ sound?” or “What letter does cow start with?” It adds to mealtime conversation with the whole family, and is no pressure learning guided by the children’s questions about what they want to know.
Give it a try. You’ll be surprised how much your children learn all while having fun.
You can find placemats many places such as the grocery store, dollar store, or online. I really like the Melissa and Doug placemats that can be found on Amazon or other stores.
Here are some examples:
According to the reviews, people really like these placemats. They do; however, caution about not using the crayons on them.
These placemats are my affiliate links.