Kids do better in school when they’re enjoying it. Too many students equate learning with boredom. Multiple studies support the idea that knowledge gained from fun and worthwhile activities is retained for longer periods of time. These experiences also help students view learning as a lifelong endeavor, not just something that happens from ages 5-18. Here are some things you can do as a parent to make learning fun for your kids.
For younger children
1. Listen to music.
Some parents start with womb songs and work their way up from there. Classical music like Mozart compositions are considered to be beneficial for babies and toddlers. Take out some wooden spoons, plastic or stainless steel bowls, and let your children create their own music. Even if it means covering your ears for a while, encouraging creativity is worth it.
2. Create art.
Use drawings to illustrate concepts like the solar system, family trees, or mathematics. Buy primary finger-paint colors. Let your kids mix to make purple, green and their own unique shades. Blank canvases can be used for a fun painting activity. Finished artwork to adorn the walls in your home.
3. Stay physically active and learn about the outdoors.
This can be as simple as putting the kids into a stroller for a walk around the neighborhood. Count birds or squirrels. Admire flowers and name all the colors you see.
4. Play learning games.
Preschool word games, such as I Spy or 20 Questions, make learning fun and interesting. As do traditional board games or online games. Check the age group for each game, so that your kids are building age-appropriate competencies. Kids have so many different options for games these days, take advantage of them.
5. Allow your children the freedom to explore.
Step back, when it’s safe, and let them roam around the backyard. Or perhaps you live near a playground or park. This self-exploration can be a boost to their self-esteem and imagination.
For elementary-aged children
6. Expose them to different ways of learning.
Kids process knowledge through visual, auditory, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary means. Incorporate these in different ways every week. You’ll begin to understand your children’s abilities in new and exciting ways. This information will also help their teachers when they start school.
7. Write stories, poems or riddles together.
Introduce ideas like dialogue and rhyming sequences as they get older.
8. Find reasons to learn every day.
Each month has a host of celebrations that make learning fun. Some are weeklong, or month long, and some are just a day. These can be excellent excuses to learn about different cultures and challenges. They are also reasons to get together and cook a variety of meals and desserts, learning STEM and language arts lessons in the kitchen as you go.
9. Get excited about learning.
Show your children that curiosity is natural and fun.
10. Play age-appropriate learning games.
This can be word games in the car, but also board games and online games as well.
11. Focus on the process, not the end result.
It doesn’t matter if the puzzle piece doesn’t exactly fit, what matters is that your kids are trying new things.
12. Create a reading-friendly house.
If you can’t set aside a special corner or room for reading, that’s fine. Stack books up on end tables or dressers. Build waist-high bookshelves. Purchase low-cost cushions or small arm chairs to provide comfy reading spots. Strategically place them around the house. Every room can be a reading room!
13. Give your kids some control.
Let them choose bedtime stories each night. Help them read out loud as you go along. Kids can also choose weekend activities, movies for movie night and special snacks. This teaches responsibility and autonomy.
14. Sing some songs.
Studies show that knowledge coming from catchy lyrics and music stay with kids much longer than rote memorization.
15. Encourage communication.
Help your children express themselves both verbally and in writing. Start with bigger pencils and pads, then graduate to keyboard writing when they’re ready.
16. Focus on what interests your kids.
Let your children know that what they want to do matters to you. What musical instrument do they want to play? Are there books they want to read? What sports do they want to get out there and try?
17. Help them to be organized.
This includes their dresser drawers and closets. Show them how to organize their bathroom, too. They will understand what they have and what they need. This also provides a foundation for organizing their backpacks, desks and offices down the road.
18. Emphasize strengths.
Celebrate each other as a family and enjoy your achievements. If someone sets a goal to learn their multiplication tables, for example, make sure they are recognized when the goal is accomplished.
Tweens and Teens
19. Let your kids choose sports as well as after-school programs or activities.
As they get older, this shows your confidence in them which also encourages confidence within themselves.
20. Encourage hands-on learning.
Get your kids in the kitchen or out in the yard. While it may not always be a blast, they’ll appreciate the experience. Challenge them to grow vegetables or start their own part-time job/small business doing odd jobs around the neighborhood. They’ll love the freedom that comes with it!
21. Get moving.
Outside learning can occur while hiking, running, walking or playing sports. Every day should include at least 10 minutes of physical activity.
22. Pause when you can.
A few moments to meditate, read a book, write in a journal or take a powernap. Don’t forget to recharge those batteries.
23. Focus on reading.
Putting away electronics and reading a good book is a great way to end the day.
24. Play games.
These can be more advanced games as your kids get older, including videos, cards, and board games that emphasize logic and reason.
25. Routinely take the kids out of their element.
Explore volunteer opportunities in your community. Schedule field trips. As they get older, make sure they have regular chores both inside and outside the house.
26. Explore online classes and community college classes.
Many high school students can earn college credit before graduating from high school!
These are all ways to encourage a strong education at home. Ways to make learning fun – at any age.