Learning Based on the Interests of Your Child


Learning in these early years is spelled P-L-A-Y. Although I love to share a variety of ways to “teach” your child various concepts, the best way your child can learn is by playing, and specifically when you play with them.

Besides obvious differences in the physical appearance of our boys, they are even more different when it comes to personality and learning styles. Big Brother is a major extrovert and loves to be with people. Little Brother is more introverted. Big Brother has always LOVED to do learning activities with me at the table but he also wants to be constantly entertained.  Little Brother, on the other hand, can easily entertain himself and enjoys having some “alone time” while he is busy playing (with his cars, especially). He usually has very little interest in the more structured learning activities.

Each child is different and I’ve had to remind myself of the importance of learning based on the interests of each individual child. That’s why thematic units are such a powerful teaching tool in early childhood.

There are so many ways that we can incorporate learning into play without our children even knowing it. Little Brother’s passion is his hot wheels. He LOVES to play with his cars. Not only can I encourage pretend play when I’m interacting with him, but I can also throw in some concept learning as well.

For example…

Count the cars (or bugs, or ponies, or dolls…whatever your child is interested in)!

Compare the sizes. Find the biggest and the smallest.

Sort the cars (or other toys) according to color.

Keep it short and fun, then get back to pretending!


  1. P-L-A-Y, Love it! This way of teaching also teaches them learning and thinking is all around us, all the time! The older kids love to play too! My 8, 6, & 5 year olds have had fun this week “playing” in the science lab aka…writing, reading, drawing, organizing, questioning, sharing, compromising….

  2. I’m the biggest fan of this type of learning. My son loves to play with his Thomas trains, so we found little blocks to put in the cars. He uses them for addition.

  3. This blog post is great and really hits on the points of what it takes to really exercise your child’s brain through play. I recently started doing a program called Brainetics (www.brainetics.com) – and have found so many different ways to train the brain which has come in really useful! I found it to be a fun and exciting way to learn math and boost memory.

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