I’m a firm believer in the saying “You learn something new every day.”

This can be true for learning new information in school, mastering a new skill, discovering a new fact, or even learning an important lesson. 

Learning isn’t confined to a classroom (which is a good thing these days!) and it doesn’t stop once we reach a certain age. If we’re lucky, learning will last our entire lifetime. 

If you’re juggling home school or virtual learning right now, you might be looking for ways to keep your kids engaged beyond the laptop and school-supplied worksheets. You may also feel as if you’re not doing enough to keep kids involved with learning, especially if they are able to complete work quickly, or you’re working full time AND teaching your kids, too. 

The great thing about this crazy time in our world is the rare opportunity to look around us and realize there’s so much learning, discovering and exploring that can happen in our daily lives. We don’t need expensive electronics or massive textbooks to teach our children important life skills. It doesn’t matter if you have a preschoolers or a high school student or one somewhere in between, here are a few simple skills you can work on with your kids that will benefit them for a lifetime. 

  1. Read and follow a recipe. Flip through a few cookbooks or browse the internet with your child (or children) and find something to make or bake together. Read the recipe, carefully following the instructions. Let your child measure the ingredients, pour them into a bowl, and combine everything together. We promise the final product will taste even better (or sweeter!) if they had a hand in making it. 
  2. Give an order at the bakery. Come in to Ashley’s, look around the cases, and once you’ve made your selections, let your child share your order with our staff. It’s a great way for children to practice talking to employees and sharing their wants and needs. 
  3. Count change. After you’ve placed your order at Ashley’s, let your child count the money to pay for the order. You can have your child practice counting exact change, too. This can be practiced at any store, not just our bakery, but we love to see families come in together and would love to work with you as you teach your children these important skills. 
  4. Address an envelope. Snail mail may be a dying art, but it’s still necessary for children to know how to properly address an envelope. Whether you are sending a birthday card or paying a bill, let your child fill out the envelope, complete with a return address. Have them add the postage stamp and drop it in the mailbox. 
  5. Make a grocery list. As you’re thinking of needed items for your next grocery run, dictate them out loud and have your kids make the list for you. By jotting down what the family needs, they’re practicing their handwriting and spelling. Bonus: send them to check the refrigerator or pantry for what items need restocking. 
  6. Write a check. We may be moving to more online banking and bill paying these days, and new technology like PayPal and Venmo make monetary transactions seamless, it’s still important to know how to write a check. Explain to your kids what checks are, how you fill them out, and situations when you might need to use them. 
  7. Order a pizza. Tired of cooking on a Friday night? Let your child call and order dinner for the family! They can tell your favorite pizza place the desired toppings, type of crust and whether it’s a pickup or delivery order. 
  8. Call a family member on the telephone. In a world of text messages and FaceTime, old-fashioned phone calls are rare, especially with teens and tweens. Encourage them to pick up the phone, dial a number and have a conversation with a family member. I’m sure it’ll make people on both ends of the phone happy. 

Hopefully this list will inspire you to get creative and remember that so many things we do on a daily basis offer a great opportunity to learn new things.