Written by Aaditya Tangri, Co-Founder & CEO of Kalebr Americas and Founder of STEAMathalon
There is a common misconception that the traditional notion of ‘education’ is something that only happens at school, but the evidence tells us that the home environment is one of the most powerful influences in a child’s development. Think about it this way – children only spend half their waking hours in school during the academic year. This means much of the learning is still being done outside the school gates.
Yet without the textbooks and library, why is home an ideal place to learn? As a start, in many cases, it replaces the traditional, row-by-row directive teaching format and instead provides an interactive, anxiety-free, and often joyful environment that by its very nature encourages play-based learning and discovery. Learning at home really refers to anywhere that isn’t the classroom – the local park, holiday resort or, indeed, the kitchen counter or great outdoors. Children experience countless learning encounters in these external environments, and parents and carers can amplify the learning benefits by guiding the direction of at-home play and discovery.
Studies reinforce that we must strive for educational environments infused with fun to support the mental well-being and positive learning outcomes of young ones. The truth is, when we erase joy and comfort from learning, we distance our learners from effective information processing and long-term memory storage. Instead of taking pleasure from learning, students become bored, may become anxious, bored or distracted. They simply aren’t engaged. This is where the beauty of at-home learning further reinforces itself.
In fact, scientific neuroimaging studies have revealed when students are engaged, motivated and feel minimal stress, information flows freely between neurotransmitters and they achieve higher levels of cognition, make connections, and experience “aha” moments. Therefore, home provides the perfect positive environment for happy and stress-free learning, even when the kids don’t realize it.
Beyond the brain sparks, at home learning is also the perfect playground for building twenty-first-century skills. These skills are a hot topic in education today and for a good reason – some even call them the new building blocks for learning. Children will need to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive global landscape, and at the same time, they’ll have to collaborate with other individuals from all over the world. Creativity and innovation will be highly valued alongside solving challenges with clear communication. While schools are beginning to make the shift toward 21st-century teaching, there is a lot that parents can do to foster these skills at home, too.
Help your kids learn and thrive beyond the school gates through play-based activities that the whole family can enjoy.
Problem Solving and Creativity
In the future, complex problems that we can’t even conceive right now will be everywhere. With societal advancement, there will be more manageable conflicts that may be more complicated and varied. To get ahead in a competitive world, a child will need to be able to think critically, to observe, analyze, and come up with smart solutions to a variety of dilemmas. The more we focus on a child’s ability to devise effective solutions to real-world problems, the more successful they will become. Furthermore, creativity is the process of imagining what can be done, the skill that every changemaker needs. Parents can encourage original thinking by getting children to identify a problem or question, then brainstorm solutions, invent a plan and put it into action.
- Lava Floor. Create an obstacle course indoors, outdoors, or both, and have the kids get from start to finish within a time limit without touching the ground. Scatter props throughout the path such as a broomstick, bike or rope to serve as possible tools along the journey. Kids can work independently or collaborate to make it to the finish line. This game is all about identifying pathways, creating solutions, innovation, perseverance, teamwork and time management.
- Destination Alphabet. Pick a destination on the map beginning with the letter A and move alphabetically around the map with as little distance as possible between each successive town/destination. As they go, kids use a calculator to figure out distances between their alphabetically ordered itinerary of towns, with the winner coming up with the shortest distance from A to Z. This is a simple but highly engaging game useful for encouraging kids to use math, geography and their problem-solving skills to come up with effective answers.
- Scavenger Hunt. Write the letters of the alphabet on small pieces of paper and place them in a hat. Ask your children to draw out five letters, and then search the house and garden to find items or things beginning with that letter. This is a great game that encourages creative thinking and can be played almost anywhere. It’ll also keep your kids occupied for a long time.
- Eye spy with my little eye. While out and about, or even at home, challenge every family member with this classic game that requires creative observation. Encourage the kids to look for more obscure objects and compliment them on the things they observe. This game helps kids learn how to be more attentive and even encourages lateral thinking.
- NPA – Number Plate Acronyms. Whilst sitting in traffic or driving long distances, get rid of boredom by asking your kids to come up with each imaginary words for each number plate that belongs to cars on the highway. This is a useful little exercise to get them to think out of the box and is always accompanied by plenty of laughter and cheer.
Collaboration and Communication
The most successful companies know how to hire the best people and get them to work toward a common goal. Children must now possess the ability to collaborate seamlessly in both physical and online spaces and find ways to work with real as virtual partners all over the globe. This is why projects and games are good opportunities to teach children the importance of teamwork. As they work together, children learn self-control, diplomacy, empathy, and time-management.
- Charades. The classic game of communication requires kids to act out a famous person, movie or everyday object using signs and successfully reveal the title within a short time period without uttering a word or giving away any names to their team members who must guess correctly. This game teaches kids to select the most relevant information and use their body language and creativity to effectively convey an idea, encouraging observation and perception among the participants. It’s also an effective way to build confidence.
- Jenga. Build up the blocks into a tower and then take turns to carefully remove the blocks one by one. Kids must work together to keep the tower standing for as long as possible, whilst being mindful about selecting the right block to minimize damage or any kind of instability in their tower. Jenga is great for encouraging communication by offering instructions and recommendations to everyone as they collaborate to produce the best possible outcome together.
- Tin cup and a string. Have the kids create a (non-electrical) acoustic speech-transmitting device made up of two tin cans, paper cups or similarly shaped items attached to one end of a long taut string or wire. Have them test its acoustics by sending messages to each other across your home or even in the backyard. This activity teaches them about a form of mechanical telephony, where a sound is conveyed through vibrations either via a liquid or solid medium before being reverted back to its original form as a sound.. This is perfect for encouraging scientific thinking, innovation and relies on physics as well.
Sure, you turn to your child for help when you set up a new smartphone, but the ease with operating gadgets isn’t the same as understanding the best practices for effectively using them. Getting children in front of devices like laptops or gaming tablets tends to get a bad rap, but the ones that encourage children to pick up skills like coding or thinking in 3-D are great for positive education. The next generation must become tech-savvy and learn to judge the validity of several streams of information while navigating different social media platforms at the same time.
- Become social media collaborators. Team up with your kid to create a family blog or a social media page, where you can post photos, updates and even accomplishments s. Work together to create content, edit information and engage with your friends and family. This will not only improve your child’s writing skills but help them prepare for the future when they’ll have to work on reports and presentations.
- Get gaming. Video games aren’t necessarily evil. They help kids learn how to create objects or even entire cities and virtual worlds through coding. They’re great for building tech and spatial skills and can even help children with special needs develop several skills. Games are a blend of entertainment, engineering, creativity, and social media skills.
Fortunately, every parent can hone these essential abilities through cool activities and games that make long make long car trips and weekends go by quickly as kids learn the skills they need to be brilliant 21st-century learners.
HUAWEI Launches GoPaint Worldwide Creating Activity
Huawei has officially kicked off the HUAWEI GoPaint Worldwide Creating Activity. From 5 January 2024 to 29 February 2024, participants can showcase their digital art skills in an online activity that embodies Huawei’s commitment to fostering creativity. The HUAWEI GoPaint Worldwide Creating Activity is a platform for creative individuals or anyone passionate about creating. With Huawei tablets designed to deliver delightful creative features, the activity aims to inspire creativity and empower more people to engage in artistic pursuits and to bring to life the concept of ‘Creation of Beauty’.
Recently, Huawei elevated the creative experience with the release of the HUAWEI MatePad Pro 13.2”, the ultimate tablet for creativity. It features a flexible OLED screen and an ultra-thin and lightweight design, with a stunning 94% screen-to-body ratio. Paired with the HUAWEI M-Pencil (3rd generation), which offers a 10,000+ pressure sensing level, the tablet enables mastery over a variety of artistic styles. Designed for creative minds, the HUAWEI MatePad Pro 13.2” ensures that your artistic vision is captured with unmatched precision and ease.
HUAWEI MatePad Pro 13.2” pre-orders are now available in the UAE at a price of AED3,399 with gifts worth AED 1,696 including HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2, the HUAWEI M-Pencil (3rd generation), Magnetic Keyboard, 3 months of free HUAWEI Care + and Microsoft Office 365. Customers who order the 512GB version of the tablet will also receive the HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2. The MatePad Pro 13.2” is available on Huawei’s official website and retailers.
Following this launch, the HUAWEI GoPaint Worldwide Creating Activity is extending the invitation to those passionate about art to continually inspire and energise their creative spirit. If you believe that to create is a universal calling, Huawei invites you to pick up your digital brush and ‘GoPaint’!
HUAWEI GoPaint will reward winners with a creation fund, including:
- Best Creative Award (1 winner): $5000
- Best Visual Award (1 winner): $5000
- Best Storytelling Award (1 winner): $5000
- Most Popular Award (2 winners): $5000
- Honourable Mention (15 winners): $2000
How to Participate
To participate in the HUAWEI GoPaint Worldwide Creating Activity, simply submit your artwork in either of the following methods, before the submission deadline, 29 February 2024 at 24:00 Beijing Time (GMT +8):
Method 1: Open My HUAWEI app on your phone or tablet, register within the app, and submit your work on the GoPaint page in the app.
Method 2: Post your work on Instagram or Facebook with #HUAWEIGoPaint, and mention the huaweimobile official account.
A Creative Journey Through Culture, Cityscapes, and Characters
HUAWEI GoPaint Worldwide Creating Activity consists of three conceptual categories:
- Culture – Culture is the calling of all creators, the essence of our soul, where experience meets inspiration, and possibilities are endless.
- City – If the world is a blank canvas, its cities are the lines, dots and brushstrokes that colour it.
- Character – We are nothing without the people around us. The everyday acts of kindness, bravery, love, and resilience that give our lives meaning and purpose.
Artworks should be submitted in either JPG or PNG format, with a resolution of at least 300 dpi, and a file size of no more than 20 MB. Each uploaded work must have a 30 to 80-word text description. Participants are encouraged to carefully review each category before submitting their work to the most suitable one. Participants can only use HUAWEI tablets to create their artwork – any model is acceptable.
For more details, please visit the official website: https://consumer.huawei.com/en/campaign/gopaint/
Nothing Apparel Drop 1 Announced
Nothing, the London-based consumer tech brand, has announced the first of several Limited Drops for its inaugural Apparel collection. The first two pieces will be available to purchase on nothing.tech from 11:00 GMT on Thursday 7 December and at Nothing Store Soho.
GCC customers can get their hands on the Limited First Drop exclusively at the Nothing Pop-up in Soledxb festival, from 8-10 December and from 11th December onwards at FRAME Boutique till stock last. An ode to the 1970s IBM factory floor, the Labcoat embodies Nothing’s founding design principle: transparency.
Product details below:
- Regular fit and thigh length
- Multiple pockets with zip closures
- Back bottom hem vent for mobility
- Right chest pocket with multiple compartments and zip closure
- Inside adjustable waist with drawstring
- Hanger loop at back neck
- YKK Natulon zippers made from recycled materials including PET bottles. Yarn used in the tape is made from 99% post-consumer recycled material.
- Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
- 100% biodegradable plant-based packaging
To top things off, there is the Transparent Cap (one size) that pairs effortlessly with Nothing’s Transparent Labcoat (available in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes). Conceptualised with teenage engineering, Nothing Apparel is focused on quality-driven wardrobe staples designed to withstand the test of time, featuring a line of caps, coats, tracksuits and more.
The Transparent Cap will be sold at AED 149 and the Transparent Labcoat at AED 699. Further Apparel drops will be announced in 2024. Apparel will be available in all current markets where Nothing sells directly to consumers on nothing.tech.
Monkey Distribution to Open More Funko Stores in the Region
Monkey Distribution, the official franchise operator for Funko in the United Arab Emirates, has unveiled plans for an extensive retail expansion in the region. Set to launch in December, two new Funko stores will join the thriving retail landscape, building on the success of Monkey Distribution’s inaugural Funko franchise at Dubai Hills Mall last year.
The upcoming locations are poised to offer a diverse product range encompassing various categories within the expansive Funko universe. From a plethora of collectables to trendy Loungefly fashion accessories, games, toys, and more, consumers can anticipate a vibrant pop culture experience.
The first of the two new Funko stores will make its debut within Dubai Mall, situated on the second floor, starting December 1, 2023. Known as the world’s largest destination for shopping, entertainment, and leisure, Dubai Mall provides a fitting backdrop for Funko enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the brand’s captivating offerings. Subsequently, on December 15, 2023, Abu Dhabi will witness the opening of another Funko store within Reem Mall, also on the second floor.
Funko’s Chief Commercial Officer, Andy Oddie said, “We are excited to announce the opening of our new partnership stores as we increase our footprint in the United Arab Emirates region this December. The expansion is a testament to the demand for our unique pop culture products and reflects our commitment to providing our global fanbase with regional retail experiences.”
The eagerly awaited Funko store in Dubai Mall is set to offer an exclusive 96-square-meter retail experience for shoppers, while the Funko destination in Reem Mall will provide a 94-square-meter immersive world for customers. These new locations are poised to serve as vibrant and captivating portals into the expansive universe of a globally renowned entertainment and lifestyle brand.
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