Getting kids interested in learning can be a chore, but any time you can turn such activities into fun games you can create an entirely different experience that makes your children love learning rather than dreading rote memorization. While there is a time and place for things like times tables, flash cards, and recitation, you can also find countless opportunities to make learning fun with activities that are more like games or treats than tedious work. And regardless of grade level, you can find ways to liven up absolutely any subject. Even math can be fun – just use some sidewalk chalk to create a hopscotch board while kids are learning to count. In any case, here are just a few ways to tackle the subjects your kids are struggling with and make them a lot more fun and interesting through targeted activities.
- Natural History Museum. You’ll be hard pressed to find a kid that doesn’t like looking at dinosaur bones and dioramas of early man. In truth, there’s no shortage of fun and unexpected exhibits to be found at the average natural history museum. While the tyrannosaurus rex or triceratops skull may be the biggest attraction, kids will also enjoy larger-than-life re-imaginings of historic scenes, insect and reptile exhibits, and the many activities that most such museums offer their young patrons as a way to get them interested in nature, science, and history.
- Science experiments. While you can certainly pick up a chemistry kit at your local toy store or online, you might be surprised to find that there are all kinds of fun science projects you can perform with common household items. For example, kids will delight to see what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar. And you can find all kinds of other safe, at-home experiments online, from making a tornado in a bottle to creating enough salinity in water to float an egg. To young kids it might seem more like magic than science, but these fun activities can give you the opportunity to explain scientific principles in an engaging way.
- Word games. Whether you’re playing the “picnic” game, where one person after another lists what they’re bringing to a picnic using the letters of the alphabet (player 1 brings Applesauce, player 2 brings Bread, player 3 brings Carrots, and so on), you make your own version of the game show Password, or you use the board game Apples to Apples to improve vocabulary, comprehension, and word association, you’ll find that word games help kids with more than just their language skills. Understanding language can contribute to success in every subject.
- Reading and writing. Kids can learn a lot from reading books of every kind, but if you really want to expand their horizons and encourage creativity with language, have them write stories of their own. If they want to they can even put together books complete with artwork. And if you happen to be computer savvy, you could even type up their stories, scan their artwork, and print out practically professional copies for family members and friends.
- Local events. There is no shortage of learning opportunities for your kids within the community, whether you’re attending Earth Day festivities or listening to kid-friendly lectures at the library on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And with websites like champagne & crayons at your disposal you should be able to find suitable activities in your area.