I want to raise curious kids who are lifelong learners, so I’ve created a home that can help foster those traits in my kids. Around the house, I’ve set up various areas which I call Exploration Stations. We have a cupboard with science supplies, a drawer with creative writing materials, an art cubby, a nature backpack, an astronomy backpack, and other nooks and crannies for cooking, water play, playdough, puzzles, plus more.
The kids are allowed to use these stations in their free time and also a couple of times a month we have Exploration Day instead of regular school work. I’m a believer in rigorous organized academics, but kids also need time to explore and learn the things that really interest them.
I have one son who for quite awhile was intensely interested in dragons. He wanted to be a paleontologist and discover dragon bones. He has decided now to be a rocket designer and astronaut so he wants to study rockets and space ships. Exploration Days have given him set aside semi-structured time to pursue his interests.
Another son loves drawing and spends most of his time doing art during Exploration Day. The younger ones have no focus yet but have fun finding things out that they normally would not if hadn’t taken the time to set up exploration stations for them to discover.
Be creative in coming up with ideas.
Some Exploration Stations From My Home
- space, planets, stars
- physics (think building catapults, pulley systems, and playing with magnets)
- computer programing (check out http://www.alice.org/ )
- math toys/games
- puzzles/lacing shapes
- playdough/sandbox/ water and containers in a sink
- specific themes like Pirates, Colonial America, Ancient Egypt, etc.
We have our stations in all sorts of places, from baskets that sit by the rocker to the bottom drawer in my kitchen cabinets to a tote on the back porch. I trade out the topics every few months and keep creating new things for my kids to get excited about. I often put in a couple of books on the topic, along with a few tools or supplies to help them explore it. Their eyes light up when they find a new nook or cranny with an exploration station inside.
Make and time and a place for learning in your home and let your kids pursue their interests all on their own. Have fun exploring.
More From Layers of Learning
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Then check out these other cool things to explore with your kids. Our units are full of hands-on explorations for lots of learning fun. You can read about what a week looks like in our homeschool. Art cards are a great base for an exploration station. Just include some mini canvases, brushes, paints, and sketching tools so kids can be inspired by the famous paintings and then try to make some of their own.