Lights, Camera, Action…The Power of Experiential Learning

Thru the Lens Photography

We Live to Learn

We often hear the saying “we live to learn”, however how many times have we as parents been overly cautious with our little ones trying different things.

Of course, our concerns come from a very good place. However, I have also observed, in this world of “adulting” how a number of women still struggle with the phenomenon of being bold enough to try new things and to step out of their comfort zones.

This had me thinking; how much of this “fear’’ may be attributed to our upbringing?

A Parent’s Manual

As a mom, I truly wish there was some manual to guide me along the path of parenting. I love learning from other mommies, truly I do, but I am also conscious about not overloading myself trying to implement every parenting tip in sight.

There’s an absolute value in learning from others, but you know your kids best so it’s also important to tailor any advice to be suitable for them.

A Mother’s Shortcomings

My three-year-old came to me randomly asking me for a hug, after which she simply said, “Mommy, my heart is happy!”. That warm embrace reminded me that sometimes I’ll get it right and sometimes maybe I won’t. But one thing is for sure; I have my kids’ best interest at heart, always. All our kids truly need is a safe, loving and nurturing environment within which they can live and learn.

Learning is Experience

After several attempts to teach a toddler various life lessons (okay perhaps “life lessons” is a bit extreme), most were greeted with the defeating words, “I don’t want to mommy”. Mommies, pray tell how you, for instance, convince a toddler to wear their blankets at night? There must be a way to get through to these very intriguing minds, in a way that they can comprehend, I thought, and so my journey of experiential learning began. Simply put, learning and reflecting through experience.

The importance of experiential learning in early childhood has been cited in various psychological studies. I continue to put it to the test and I have to say I have found great value in use to convey and demonstrate various concepts to my kids.

Camera, Lights, Action

One of the simple ways I have implemented this form of learning is through role play, especially with my toddler.

The concept of role play brings life to specific concepts. “Playing with the phone will make us late baby”, my little one insisted as she switched to her “mom” role during one of our role plays.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much you too will learn from these little ones, and especially just how much your child has absorbed.

To help get you started here are a few tips on some themes and props you can incorporate in your experiential learning:

  1. Reinforce positive messages of affirmation by incorporating toys they treasure. One of my daughter’s favourite picks is this beautiful doll from Mr Price Home.
    Source: Mankoana Nhlebela

2. Not much of an actor? Then incorporate toys such as Lego for your role play.

3. Limiting screen time is important but there are some phone apps, such as Yovo Games that allow your little one to experience the benefits of the activity you are trying to encourage.

Parenting Your Way

Our kids only have one chance to live a full and rich experience. We owe it to them to afford them that opportunity. But ultimately, we also owe it to ourselves to find joy in parenting our way.

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Mankoana Nhlebela
Mankoana Nhlebela

Kids Editor

Mankoana Nhlebela is an Entrepreneur, Transformational Speaker and Mentor. With a creative flair, she’s the owner of UKARA, a fashion and lifestyle brand, and Co-Founder of Motherly Love Baby Shower, a non-profit organisation that aims to support underprivileged mothers-to-be. With a span of multiple roles, including a corporate job in Telecommunications, one of her favourites is that of parenting. As a mother of two, and a women empowerment enthusiast, she firmly believes in the power of affirmation and intentional parenting.

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