In my years of working with children and teens, especially those with learning issues, one thing that rose again and again was the need for planning, as in learning how to plan. This is a key thing to be able to do. I have spent many hours teaching these precious students how to plan – homework, assignments, projects, To Do lists, etc. Planning falls under critical thinking, and is helpful not only in school but in life. Let’s look at 3 activities for planning.
WHAT IS PLANNING?
Planning is the process of making plans for something. In other words, breaking down a task into smaller chunks and working out the best time to do it.
WHY IS PLANNING IMPORTANT?
Planning helps us identify our goals that we want to achieve and then help us achieve it. When something seems overwhelming it can cause us to stop what we are doing and find it hard to move forward with the task.
In the simplest terms, the way to plan is
- Write down your goal.
- Create a plan by dividing your goal into chunks and setting a time for how long each task will take.
- Review your plan daily.
- Stay on target.
When we have a target we can aim to hit it. This is important.
THREE FUN ACTIVITIES TO PRACTICE PLANNING
While I used school work and assignments with my students to learn planning, here are three fun activities for practice.
Have a dinner party
This is fun. There is where your child gets to plan a party – when it is, the theme, the meal, who to invite, invitations, etc. And then the best bit is that you get to have the party!
Here is a great resource on event planning for children.
While this might not sound like fun, it really can be. I have been doing meal planning with my girls since they were young. We will often look online at recipes to find new ones to try. We put together the plan for the week, look in the pantry and fridge to create the list and then go shopping. They love to be part of it.
When we go shopping they have items that they need to find. I no longer have to remind them; they are determined to remember their items!
It is also good to show children how plans might need to change. Is a certain item no available? Maybe you need to change the meal you planned. Schedule changed? Maybe you have to change what night you need what. How flexible are you? Are they?
It is also good to be planning the cooking. If dinner is at 6pm and the recipe takes 2 hours to cook, what time do you need to start preparing?
Take it a bit further and have your child pick a night. They will plan the meal, do the shopping and cook the meal.
Plan a Road Trip
Planning road trips is fun. Even if you don’t take it.
Get out maps and look at landmarks you want to see. Are there any foods you want to try? Are there any famous foods in the different States you just HAVE to eat?
Maybe it’s not a cross-country road trip, just across state. It is still fun to plan.
Other things to think about when planning:
- time – how long will it take?
- gas/petrol – how much will you need?
- food – do you need to pack snacks?
- toilet stops – how can you plan for those?
- hotels – do you need to stay overnight? Where can you stay?
My girls are busy planning their round the world trip. They are writing their list of countries they want to visit. So far we have added (outside of going back to visit family) Brazil, China, The Bahamas and I am sure many more will be added. They are trinational citizens, so a round-the-world trip sounds great!
Whether it is breaking down assignments into manageable chunks, planning a dinner party, meal planning or planning a road trip, it is fun to practice planning and develop that skill. Have fun!