Traditional schoolwork can be difficult for many kids. Kids sometimes need a motivating, game-like approach to serious learning. Activities that kids consider relevant and important motivate them to do their best.
How can this be accomplished? Here are a few ideas:
1. Learning Games: Kids love games, and you can help your child learn about a variety of subjects through play. With little ones, you can have scavenger hunts where they can find objects of different colors, sizes, or shapes. You can hide letters or numbers. You can also hide pictures of different animals and have your child find the right one by just making the sound that animal makes. For older kids, you can play games such as Battleship, Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble and Pictionary to promote strategic thinking or encourage word skills. You can also create your own games together. Have your child answer questions about specific subjects to move ahead a specific number of spaces. What you choose to teach with through games is only limited by imagination.
2. Read Together: Go to the library with your child and pick out books on topics that are engaging to him or her. Make sure you select nonfiction books as well as fiction. Read to your child as often as possible and discuss the books that you read. Point out interesting things and ask questions. Ask your children for their opinions and ideas. For older children, ask what they would have done in different situations. What might be a better beginning or ending? What might have happened five years before the book took place, and what might happen 10 years later.
3. Write Together: Encourage your child to keep a journal that includes all the interesting places they visit with you. The journal should include their illustrations, maps, charts, and photos. It may also include any riddles, puzzles and games your child makes up about what he or she learned.
4. Build Together: Many kids love building toys like blocks and Legos. Your child can also build objects of cardboard, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, etc. Challenge your child to build a bridge and see how heavy a load it can carry without breaking. Challenge your child to build a case that will prevent an egg from splattering if it is dropped.
5. Computer Assisted Instruction: There are some wonderful computer programs that make learning enjoyable. Look for programs that are motivating and that automatically adapt to each student's individual needs.
6. STEM Activities: Students love STEM activities that are hands on. Here are just a few ideas:
• Bridge building out of popsicle sticks
• Creating and flying paper airplanes
• Balloon baking soda experiments
• Homemade slime recipes
• Students can also create their own soda bottle terrariums.
You can read part 1 of this series HERE for more ideas for making learning fun.
Harriet Isecke, a literacy expert and award-winning educator and author, is the CEO of Readorium. Readorium is an interactive online program that teaches kids strategies for understanding nonfiction, as it guides them through science books that automatically adjust to their reading level as they use the program. Parents can view their children’s progress 24/7. Readorium is serious reading played like a game!
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