For your children, there are not many things more exciting in this world than their first milestones. These include the first day at preschool, the first visit to the zoo, that first birthday invitation and the first trip on a plane.
Children best learn and remember by using their senses, and exploring their various environments that include people, things, places and events.
A new and fun experience can promote increased mental activity, and this in turn helps children retain learning and memory skills by integrating these experiences with what they already know.
We look into how life experiences can improve one of the key elements in learning.
How life experiences shape learning
Research has shown that a child's ability to talk and describe current events is directly linked to his ability to form and recall memories.
For example, when your children learn new games or skills, this new knowledge is retained by the active-working memory. It’s a process where the new information is mixed with and compared against previous memories.
When kids move on to another activity, some of this information becomes a part of their short-term memory. Again, not all short-term memory will be retained for long periods of time. Brain cells are more likely to store new experiences if they're repeated.
How creative activities can help with learning
According to the Von Restorff Effect, a theory established by psychologist Dr Hedwig von Restorff in 1933, children will tend to remember anything that is outstanding or unique1.
This is because the human brain is designed to pay attention to and remember things that are different from the regular or common environment.
Creative activities that allow children to see, hear, hold, and smell new things can lead to rich sensory experiences that enable them to recall things attentively and effectively.
1'Age-related differences in the Von Restorff isolation effect'. Bireta, Tamra J; Surprenant, Aimée M; Neath, Ian, Quarterly journal of experimental psychology, 2006, 345-352. Retrieved on August 27, 2015 from Research Gate: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/5948864_Age-related_differences_in_the_Von_Restorff_isolation_effect.