Mariah Bruehl has worked in education in many different ways – teaching in the classroom, developing curricula, training teachers and more. In Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder, she turns her focus to what parents can do at home.
The first section of the book focuses on how to use the book and how to set up play spaces throughout your home that encourage learning. As the title suggests, though, these are not ‘work stations’ meant to be filled with worksheets, but instead areas designed to stimulate independent thought and discovery. A bird-watching basket has binoculars, bird books, pencils and blank paper for sketching the birds. A writing station has different types of paper for writing lists, books, and letters. An art station has a variety of markers, papers, craft sticks, art books, and more. She emphasizes that these stations should be based on your child’s current interests – as their interests change, so should the stations.
The second section of the book has ideas grouped in seven categories: Nurturing Young Authors, The Joy of Reading, Mathematicians at Work, Scientific Investigations, Exploration of Art and Artists, Growing Globally, and Raising the Citizens of Tomorrow. Each exercise has a list of needed supplies.
The final section provides printables (also available on her website) to stock your learning stations – story paper with space for illustrations and text, an explanation of the scientific process, illustrations of the parts of a flower, etc.
reviewed by Jessica