Inside: Looking for ways to make learning fun? These educational activities for kids promote learning in a fun and engaging way!
Oftentimes trying to get your kids to do an educational activity is like trying to get them ready for bed…
They resist or whine because they don’t want to do it, and then you end up frustrated because you know within these activities, are important skills they need to know!
And if you try explaining how these skills are important for them to know, you can actually see their eyes glazing over in boredom because to them, sitting still and doing flashcards, or practicing counting, writing, and reading the traditional way, just sounds like torture.
Of course the more you push the learning activity on them, the more they resist, and you both end up frustrated and in a bad mood.
This was the case for me and my daughter. I’m not a super creative person when it comes to thinking of non-traditional learning activities for kids, (which is pretty odd considering I used to teach kindergarten and had no problem coming up with fun lesson plans!).
So here I am, trying to force her to do very traditional (aka boring!) learning activities and she’s just getting irritated and eventually gives up because she hates it!
I even tried to disguise these lessons as games, which worked for a little while, but then she began to dread when I even mentioned playing these kinds of games.
So this forced me to think about what I was doing.
I wasn’t encouraging her to learn, I was making her dread learning, which was the total opposite of what I wanted.
I want her to love learning and love school, so I knew I had to take another approach.
I remembered how important play is for kids. Play is how little kids learn!
I realized there are a lot of educational activities that you can do around the house that disguise the fact that your kids are learning because they’re exciting, fun, and don’t make them feel like their learning.
Fun educational activities for kids you can do around the house
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Experiment with colors
-Play with food coloring- You can mix them in different things, (water, shaving cream, yogurt, milk, etc.) to see what happens to the colors when you mix them.
-Sort crayons into color groups.
-Go on a color scavenger hunt, (look for a certain number of items that are a specific color, or find items that match a certain color).
Practice writing skills
-Tracing is a great pre-writing skill. You can have your kid trace lines to get from one picture to another picture, trace letters, trace numbers, etc.
-Do connect the dots activities.
-Use their fingers to write letters or numbers in different materials, (shaving cream, sand, whipped cream, salt, etc.). What’s great about this activity is it’s multisensory.
Your kid’s using different textured materials, perhaps they’re tasting it or smelling it, (depending on the material), they’re either saying the letter or hearing you say it, and they’re using movement to write the letter.
Multisensory learning is a concept I learned about when I was teaching. It’s so effective because your child is using all their senses at one time so no matter what they’re learning style is, the activity will engage your child’s specific strength.
Do science projects
-Mix items together to see what happens, (oil and water, dish soap and water, baking soda and vinegar, etc.)
-Do an egg experiment.
Have one regular egg and one hard boiled egg. Crack them open and talk about the differences between them and what may have caused them to be different. (It’s helpful if your child sees you boiling the egg and then cracking it afterwards when discussing what causes the eggs to be different).
-Compare different types of apples, (this works best with a green, yellow, and red apple).
Have them look at the color differences, they can taste them and discuss what each one tastes like, and you can cut open the middle to show your child the seeds. Then you can have a discussion about the life cycle of the apple. This is another great multisensory learning activity.
Make math fun
-Sort items from big to little, or little to big.
-Count silly things, (like how many silly faces did I make? how many times did I jump on one leg before I fell over? how many times can you spin around before you get dizzy? etc.) or count their favorite toys or favorite treats.
-Play a card game like War (using numbers 1-9) or Go Fish.
-Use a delicious treat to practice adding and subtracting. (For example, if I give you 3 fruit snacks, and I give your teddy bear 2 fruit snacks, how many fruit snacks do you and teddy have?) Let your child eat the treats after they’ve counted them!
-Search for items that are certain shapes in your house, (ex: 5 square items, 5 triangle items, 5 oval items, etc.)
-Play board games for kids. These games not only teach your kids math concepts, but also patience, good sportsmanship, and following directions.
Literacy and reading activities
-Read with your child.
-Have them read you a story.
-Act out your favorite story and have them act out theirs.
These are some great children’s books about emotions to read with your kids.
-Mix up parts of a story and ask if it came in the first part of the story, the middle, or last. Just be sure to use a story they know really well.
-Search for items that rhyme in your house, (hat, cat, mat, or blocks, clocks, box, etc.)
-Use environmental print to help your kids begin to understand that symbols mean something, (which is an important basic skill for kids who are new to reading).
Teach them the basics of a foreign language
-You can download some great apps that make learning a new language fun through games.
This is a great way to introduce your kids to a new language and it actually works! My kids picked up some Spanish and German from playing games in another language.
-Rent books from the library in a foreign language.
-Buy or rent their favorite shows in another language.
Educational activities don’t have to be dull and boring, or something you and your child dread doing.
You can spice things up with games and activities that promote learning in a fun and engaging way.
Another benefit of non-traditional learning activities like these, are that kids don’t all learn the same way. They need to be exposed to different methods of learning.
My daughter’s much more likely to play ‘disguised’ learning games, or participate in experiments because they’re engaging and fun.
These educational activities introduce your kids to critical skills they need in an exciting way!