During last year’s US Census, results showed that 42% of children who took lessons outside of school were highly engaged. This means that they were almost 10% more engaged than their classmates who didn’t participate in extracurricular activities.
What does this mean? Learning outside of school in fun, unique ways can help increase engagement.
In today’s digital age, it certainly means that you’re going to have to get a little more creative about the way that you engage in fun educational activities with children. Here are eight different ideas on how to make learning fun.
Make Learning Digital
Instead of having your child read from their class book or write a paper, take it online. Indulge in digital learning, which can also double as play.
Thinkster Math, for example, offers students the ability to view instructional videos and watch examples of others completing the problems they’re working on. Then, they’re able to complete a worksheet on their laptop or tablet using a stylus.
This differs from platforms like Kumon, which don’t offer students access to a variety of videos that can help them learn the material.
Experts note that creating a digital learning environment is part of preparing students for the future. So, making learning digital is crucial as well as fun. It’s a win-win for teachers and students.
Go on a Field Trip
Kids learning activities that are outside of a traditional classroom setting has a lot of benefits. It triggers experiential learning and takes a more hands-on approach to learning.
Going on a field trip can help make learning unique subjects entertaining for kids. For example, if you’re learning about the solar system, head to the planetarium. If you’re learning about wildlife, head to a local petting zoo and let the kids interact with the animals.
There is a field trip for just about any unit you’re learning if you look hard enough. Even if it doesn’t fit the material exactly, taking kids out of the classroom is a great way to facilitate learning and teach them about the real world.
Turn Reviews into Games
Reviews are a great way to ensure students have learned all of the material they need to move on to the next section. Usually, this requires writing a summary and taking notes.
Instead, turn review sessions into fun educational games for kids that help them learn the material.
Some review game ideas include:
- Graffiti Wall:This is great for visual learners. Take a large piece of butcher paper and draw a shape of something you’re learning (like a map of the US, for example). Now, have students draw facts into the shape.
- Sink or Swim:Students get into two groups and ask each other review questions. Each time a team gets one right, they can “sink” a member of the other team.
- Move Ahead of the Class:Each time someone gets a question right, they move ahead on a square in the classroom. If you’re creative, you can turn this one into a life-size board game that kids love.
There are plenty of other ideas, but try asking the kids what they would like to do first! If they know that, at the end of each unit, there’s the chance to participate in a fun hands-on game, they’ll be more likely to pay attention.
If you’re looking for fun educational activities at home, especially during the summer, then giving a kid a camera is a great idea. You’ll be teaching them how to take responsibility for an object, introducing them to photography, and encouraging their creativity.
To participate in an alphabet photography activity, you’ll want to:
- Get a camera or smartphone ready.
- Print out a list of the alphabet with spaces for each letter.
- Set a time limit and area within which the child can travel and explore.
- Let them take photographs of items beginning with each letter.
- Tell them they have to write the object in the letter slot on the piece of paper.
- If you want to add extra social skills, tell them somebody has to sign it to confirm each object.
This will give them autonomy over what pictures they’re taking, which increases their self-confidence and independence as a learner.
Sing it Out
English class can sometimes be difficult for those who don’t like to read. Instead of reading through a boring required reading list, turn it into a play or musical.
Take the students to see a Broadway show as part of a class field trip. Then, have them create their own short plays or musicals based on the material you’re learning. With the increase in popularity of Hamilton, students can see that even seemingly boring historical events make for great musical material.
This not only creates a fun learning environment, but it also helps students understand the material from a different point of view. You’ll also see higher rates of participation from students who are more visual and hands-on.
Ask Them About Fun Educational Activities
Not sure what they might think constitutes fun educational activities? Ask them! Figure out what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.
Then, create fun learning games and situations around that. Practically any situation can be a teachable moment if you look for the lesson and present it in the right way.
Children tend to feel more engaged and interested in learning situations where they have some sort of control over what they’re learning. When they’re more engaged, the learning becomes more fun. If they find the material fun to learn, then it won’t feel like such a chore to do.
That sounds like a win for students, parents, and teachers.
If you’re looking to incorporate more technology into your learning activities, take a look at our technology section. There you’ll be able to stay up to date on the latest tech trends and information.