Do you struggle to find ways to help your little one learn? We’ve complied 5 of the best ways to encourage learning through fun activities and games!
First though, it’s helpful to establish whether your child favours a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic approach to learning. Do you notice they’re constantly on the go and won’t sit still? Then you probably have a kinaesthetic learner on your hands. Or perhaps your little one has a great imagination and can easily visualise things – all signs of a great visual learner. Finally, if your child loves to read aloud and story-time is their favourite time of the day, they most likely favour an auditory learning style. However, the three learning types are not independent of each other and many of us can utilise more than one style of learning – through trial and error you just need to work out what works best for your child. With that in mind here are some of our top ways to make learning fun for children.
1. Take a hands-on approach to learning
This works great for those kinaesthetic learners, and even the visual learners out there who better process information when they can relate it to something they can physically see and touch in front of them. It is also thought we retain over 70% of what we learn by doing and using our hands, so educational toys and learning gifts that require activity and dexterity can be great for these types of learners!
While there are a lot of learning toys on the market today aimed at helping babies and toddlers during their crucial developmental stages, there’s much less available for school age children, so we’ve saved you the hard task of trying to find what’s out there and we’ve rounded up our pick of the best educational toys for older kids. Why not take a look at some of our gift ideas for children that are both fun and educational…
colour & learn space explorer pillowcase, eatsleepdoodle, £14.95
Packed full of fun facts, astronauts, rockets and spacecraft to colour-in and discover, this double-sided pillowcase makes the best fun and educational gift for kids. It features the historic moon landing scene on one side, the solar system on the other, and there’s even a secret trick for learning the order of the planets hidden inside the flap.
With so much to colour and learn, this fun and creative colour-in pillowcase is a great way for the kids to get ahead on their key stage 1 and 2 learning.
Learning Resources Bugnoculars, Bright Minds, £11.99
Find and observe flowers, insects and even fish with these fantastic ‘bug’noculars! The snap-lock lid, airholes and water-tight bottom allow you to keep any wildlife safe until you release it back into it’s habitat and the binoculars mean you can see everything up-close and in detail - great for young budding biologists!
Imagidice - Hone Your Imagination!, Wicked Uncle, £13.95
How about Imagidice for a fun and educational game? Simply roll the 12 dice and use the face-up images to invent a story. It’s perfect for encouraging those big imaginations and great for exercising the kids’ communication skills and teaching them (and you!) to think on the spot!
2. Invent games surrounding the learning
Inventing games to get children thinking and learning can be great fun for everyone – especially on long journeys when you’re searching for an alternative to screen time.
How about the classic game of ‘how many xyz (animals, countries, dinosaurs etc.) can you name?’ It not only gets the kids to recall things they’ve previously learnt, exercising their memory, but if you add a time pressure it gets them thinking on the spot, too!
Or why not try picking a topic and seeing if you can name something within that category that starts with each letter of the alphabet. For example, you could choose the category animals and then each take turns to name a different animal beginning with the different letters of the alphabet.
Sticking with the theme of naming, another great game to play is taking it in turns to pick a letter for each other and seeing if you can name a country, city, animal, landmark or ruler beginning with that letter.
3. Use visual props
It’s thought we remember 30% of what we see, so why not use visual props in your learning. Anything from sweets and cake to fruit and veg can be of use!
Individually wrapped sweets are great for helping kids visualise multiplications and cutting a cake is super fun for learning about fractions. An orange and its segments can be superb for this too (and a bit healthier!).
If you don’t fancy the mess of using actual food, then how about this fun and educational game from Learning Resources.
Pizza Fraction Fun Game, Learning Resources, £19.00
4. Let them teach you
Research has shown we learn an amazing 95% of what we teach to someone else as we have to be sure of our knowledge first before we re-iterate it, so asking the kids questions and getting them to repeat information out loud can be a powerful learning tool and one that’s especially beneficial to auditory learners. Why not make it a game by using roleplay - ask them to play the teacher while you’re the student – kids will love being in charge for a change!
5. Take learning outside
Taking learning outside and seeing things in real life is great for both visual and kinaesthetic learners. It can be a fantastic way to learn about nature and history whilst also having fun being out and about!
Why not take a trip to your local gardens or nearest pond and discover some different wildlife habitats, or else brush up on those history skills with a trip to a castle or historical monument. Lots of places have activity sheets for the kids to fill out while you’re there or go that step further and make and print your own!
The national trust has some fantastic events taking place daily up and down the country from nature trails and archaeology walks to aviary talks and coastal walks.
To find out what’s happening near you, click here.