Lifestyle

Mum reveals ‘sneaky’ ways to make learning fun and why ‘the first three years matter’ most

Discover how playdough can help children develop motor skills

Every parent, teacher or older sibling will know the pains of trying to get children to learn.

So, one sneaky genius has decided to sprinkle fun into education to help our little people want to study and discover more about the world they live in.

Said sneaky genius is otherwise known as Finola Kane, otherwise known as Miss Sprinkle.

Chatting about her venture, Finola revealed that she coined the phrase ‘Sprinkling Education’ to shoehorn education into fun and games to help children learn through play.

Finola told us: “My aim is to try and help parents come up with fun ways to educate without being too obvious that it’s learning and make the children think it’s fun.”

It all began when Finola uploaded her first YouTube video a few years back that she had created for her own children and to help friends who worked as teachers.

Speaking exclusively to Uspire, Finola continued: “I took a break from teaching to raise my two children, currently six and four. I said to my teacher friends, now I have the time, if there is ever a video they want me to make on a phonetic sound or words, let me know.

“My friend suggested I make some videos to improve fine and gross motor skills using dough, so I started making videos on playdough gym, sometimes known as playdough disco, and was amazed at how many people viewed it in a week.”

Finola’s footage went global, clocking up a quarter of a million hits, giving her the clear message that there was a hunger for this content.

Feeling encouraged to continue her journey, she began making more videos focusing on motor skills and exercises to build muscles ready for when kids start to draw or mark-make. By playing with playdough, they can improve and strengthen these muscles needed to write.

Finola also uses a puppet, named Zinga, to connect with children as she discovered as a teacher that young people don’t often see adults making mistakes and get upset if they do.

By using her puppet, Zinga makes the mistakes to let kids know it’s okay to make them, allowing Finola to remain the oracle of knowledge so the children don’t lose confidence in her.

The mum-of-two also uses expertise from her master’s degree, which she completed following teacher-training, with a focus on EYFS [early years foundation stage].

Finola said: “I was astounded, and slightly horrified, to learn how important those early years are for the growth of the brain. It’s a lot to do with the architecture, neurons, synapsis – basically lots of scientific words that taught me, the first three years matter.

“These are the years that we need to ‘grow the brain’ and open children up to as many different textures, smells, visuals etc. and any form of learning that we can.

“I believe playdough is the best route in, but I do plan on evolving and adding more content and more ideas to help children have fun learning.”

Currently, Miss Sprinkle’s main focus is teaching English in creative ways, although she plans to move into early maths and numbers too.

Finola concluded: “I enjoy coming up with fun ways for kids to learn and I know my son, who will be heading into reception class next year, will need a lot of ‘sneaky teaching’, so I imagine I will find lots of inspiration for new videos then too.”

Not only has early childhood education shown to improve a love of learning later on in life, benefits also include developing emotional resilience, enhanced literacy and numerical skills, as well as children feeling safe and secure as they adopt good habits.

To join in the games, click here: Miss Sprinkle.

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