Researches have shown that using games as an educational tool contributes to deeper learning. Experts even use the term “gamification” to speak about introducing elements of game and fun into the learning process to make it more efficient. It may not sound that easy, but you’ll just need some imagination and some very simple tools to make your kids exсited about their studies.
Here at Bright Side, we’ve come up with a collection of witty hacks that will help you make learning fun and will make it enjoyable for both you and your kids!
1. Transform numbers into funny cartoons.
If your kids can’t memorize the numbers, try a creative approach. First, write the number on a sheet of paper and then use your imagination to turn it into birds, animals, flowers or any other objects you can think of. If you don’t know what to start with, see this video for vivid instruction on how to turn numbers 1-5 into funny cartoon birds.
2. Create an open-ended story.
This method is good for learning new words and repeating those your child already knows. All you need is some paper, pencils, and imagination. Sit down with your child and try to create a funny story together: you may start with a phrase “Once upon a time” and introduce some characters, and then let the child continue the story. Doodling the story on a piece of paper will stir your kid’s imagination even more and will let him or her remember the words better.
3. Stage a puppet theatre performance.
Another way to expand your kid’s vocabulary is by creating a handmade puppet theatre. For your performances, you can use an ordinary cardboard box with some fabric on it, handmade puppets, and everyday objects the names of which you want your kid to learn. This video gives detailed instructions on how to make cute sock puppets.
4. Turn your kitchen into a science laboratory.
Chemistry is a difficult subject for many kids, but it’s quite easy to make it fun. Turn your kitchen into a laboratory together with your child and do spectacular experiments that demonstrate the laws of chemistry in a vivid way. For example, you could try using water, juice, and jelly with some food coloring to tell your child about the density of substances. Ordinary salt, some water, and a pencil will help your kid study crystals growth. It goes without saying that these experiments are engaging for both children and adults.
5. “Hunt” for sounds.
This method will help you teach your child phonetics through picture-taking. Give your kid a camera or a mobile phone and ask them to take pictures of every object the name of which has a particular sound. As you go from A to Z, your kid will take dozens of pictures while learning phonetics and exploring the world around them!
6. Bake to learn simple maths.
Baking cookies is a perfect tool to teach your child counting and fractions. Bake cookies of simple round or square shapes and teach your kid to cut them into eighths, fourths, and halves with a plastic knife. Use those cookie pieces to teach him or her how to add and subtract fractions, for example, 1/4 of a cookie + 1/4 of a cookie = 1/2 of a cookie. This is a great way to combine cooking with education and fun.
You can use molds to bake these so-called “numicon biscuits” that will make explaining math easier, or use a paper plate for teaching fractions (as shown above).
7. Teach maths at the grocery store.
Who knew shopping at the grocery store could offer a good learning opportunity? Before shopping, make a grocery list and ask your child to estimate the cost of each item. At the check-out line, let the child compare the estimated and actual cost of the goods. A grocery store is also a good place to practice weighing vegetables and fruits on the scale.
8. Turn daily routine chores into learning opportunities.
Offer your child the opportunity to observe the world around them by learning numbers, letters, sounds, colors, and shapes. For example, ask your kid to count to 10 while washing their hands, to count the number of pizza slices, or to point out certain letters on cereal boxes. As your child brushes their teeth, ask them to spot square objects or things that are red in your bathroom. Repeating these simple actions every day will boost the kid’s learning skills and memory.
Sorting objects by size, shape, and colors is a very important activity for a little kid and it’s quite easy to turn it into a funny game. Use special toys designed by manufacturers or simple household objects to engage your child in sorting and counting. For example, you could use a cupcake mold as shown in the picture above.
9. Make household chores educational.
Laundry is dull but you can make it engaging and educational if you ask your child to sort clothing items by colors, types, and sizes, and then count them. Need to drive to a store? Instead of offering your kid a gadget, suggest spotting cars of certain colors, trees of certain types, or road signs of certain shapes.
10. Make a “writing tent.”
A private and cozy space will stir your child’s imagination and creativity. Use some sheets or blankets and a couple of pillows to make a DIY writing tent. Invite your kid to spend some time in the tent with a sheet of paper and a pencil and encourage them to think of a story to write. This may be a story about imaginative characters or a recollection of your kid’s day – the point is to inspire your child to find the right words to express their thoughts and feelings.
11. Use DIY egg maracas to teach your child music.
Use plastic eggs, plastic teaspoons, and some rice to make DIY egg maracas to arouse interest in music in your little kid. These improvised musical instruments will help your child learn simple rhythms and have fun while you are busy.
12. Touch and describe.
When you walk, encourage your child to pick objects of different textures like leaves, feathers, flowers, stones, etc. Let your child study the subject and describe its shape, color, the sound it makes, and the feelings they have when touching it. This exercise will engage all the senses and will improve your child’s speaking skills.
Bonus: Improve your child’s memory.
Having a good memory is very important for successful learning. There are many ways to improve your child’s memory that you can try right now. These include playing games like chess and puzzles, learning tongue twisters, sticking to the daily routine, and following a balanced diet rich in protein, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Which of these ideas would you like to try with your kids? Do you have your own life hacks on making the learning process enjoyable? Feel free to share your thoughts and your knowledge with us in the comments!