Hello, My DS1 is a curious and bright boy. He is really keen to learn and has really good communication and language skills.
I now have a baby boy and find that I don't have as much time to spend with DS1. What can I do to keep up his interest in learning. He plays some great games on my iPad and goes to pre school two mornings a week.
I find it so much harder now to do all the things that I used to.
Activities that are 'open-ended' that encourage exploration, using the imagination, experimentation & have a range of play options are best (for many reasons) but mostly because what your child learns with them is limitless.
Children are naturally interested in learning, he will want to keep learning about anything & everything as long as you give him freedom to explore, make choices & teach him how to cope when things don't go well.
Keep in mind that the curriculum is very broad & at this age the most important thing is encouraging learning dispositions rather than teaching academic facts. i.e Being curious, independent, willing to have a go & keep trying even when something is difficult or doesn't work the first time (persistence)
In terms of keeping him interested & helping him to be independent, look for inspiration on websites like pinterest.com for inspiring ways to set up activities & present them.
Even using what you have around the home can become a fantastic learning experience- if it is set up in the right way.
e.g: Pots, plastic bowls, spatulas, wooden spoons, ladles, containers with lids & ice cubes in a tray. An extension of that could be making your own ice cubes- choose favourite toys together , put them in some plastic cups & icecream containers with coloured water & glitter. Freeze them. Retrieve them the next day- talk & observe what has happened, then leave him to explore.
Good examples would be:
Duplo (Side benefits include- promoting language & vocabulary building, developing the fine motor skills needed for writing, problem solving skills & many more...)
open ended art- just provide materials, no focus on 'creating anything specific'. Just explore. Make marks. crayons, big paper.
Make ramps & tracks for small toy cars- using cardboard tubes or wooden blocks. http://pinterest.com/pin/45599014949508618/ (could also work for ping pong balls)
Here is a great use of masking tape for an extension of that activity http://pinterest.com/pin/1407443603992380/
Make a pillow fort: use blankets, pillows, pegs, string & clasps to create a cosy hiding space together. Add in a torch, some special interesting books, a drink bottle. Teach him how to use the pegs so he can fix & alter his fort independently.