In the Watermelon Story, Little Honey and Angel love everything about eating watermelon except for those bothersome little black seeds that they spit out at each other. But they eventually learn that those seeds are actually very precious and, with the right amount of care, can grow into plants that will produce new watermelons. Even when their hard work is ruined by the actions of one of their young neighbors, Little Honey and Angel are undaunted. Now that they have learned how to grow watermelons, they know they can do it again.
This type of learning is referred to as experiential learning and it involves participating in concrete experiences and then reflecting on those experiences to acquire knowledge and/or skills. By engaging in experiential learning, Little Honey and Angel learned the importance of watermelon seeds and the process of growing a watermelon plant.
Learning can take many forms. Teachers in all of the different levels of education are trained in many learning theories including experiential learning. But parents and grandparents can also take an active role in providing rich and rewarding learning experiences for their children and grandchildren
One of our favorite books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The book tells the story about a caterpillar that emerges from an egg, eats everything in sight, and covers itself with a protective cocoon. At the very end a beautiful butterfly bursts out of the cocoon. This book set the stage for many of our own little experiments at home and allowed our children to appreciate some of the different forms that exist in the natural world.
Do you have any favorite experiments or experiences that you have done to help your children learn? Do you have any favorite children’s books that you feel helped your children learn? If so feel free to share in the comments.