Got stir-crazy kids at home? Check out this guest post by Alexandra Eidens, author of the blog Big Life Journal for tips on how to keep ’em learning and engaged indoors.
When your child complains of boredom or becomes a little too comfortable in front of the TV, they may need some motivation. Children, like adults, can become stuck in a rut. The best way to ignite the desire to learn is by sparking an interest. Create excitement, mystery or problem solving to increase engagement. Here are seven fun activities to motivate children to learn while at home.
1. Get Reading
Promote reading from an early age and children have a better chance to embrace the love of reading. Children who read for enjoyment also benefit from higher literacy skills. Children who do not like reading or have difficulties can still develop strong literacy. Help them find books on subjects they enjoy. You can even move outside of traditional books and look at comics, graphic novels, and online books and periodicals. Find novelizations of their favorite movies. For younger children, give them read-a-long books they can listen to and follow.
2. Assign Virtual Rewards
Traditional rewards don’t always work. They can also become quite expensive for parents and teachers. Luckily, there is an alternative for treasure box rewards and other physical gifts. One great example is spending more time doing things that your children love to do. You’d be surprised at how your child would be happy just to play with you. Not only is spending time less expensive, but you are also setting up your kid for success. According to Catherine Jones, kids who spend quality time with their parents are less likely to have behavioral issues. That’s because spending time with our kids shows that we care about them.
3. Focusing on Children’s Interests
Help your child find their passion. Like adults, children who learn more about their favorites subjects will be motivated to learn. A child who loves dinosaurs can easily fall in love with paleontology, geology and other related sciences. Support their interests by asking about them and listening to them. Ask questions and allow them to teach all they know.
4. Writing Letters
Letter writing is an art form slowly losing a battle against technology. Unique stationery or a kid’s journal and nice handwriting were [once] essential for creating the perfect letter. Mailing took time, and there was suspense waiting for a response. Now, emails arrive within seconds, and a reply can return information within minutes. Thus, it would help if you teach children the art of letter writing, including a focus on neat and tidy handwriting. If children do not know cursive, this is the perfect opportunity to teach them. Sure, letter writing promotes strong grammar, language and punctuation. But more importantly, writing a letter is more personal, and helps foster meaningful relationships with your friends and family.
You’ll never know when sending a letter to “Nana” is extra meaningful, especially now that people are encouraged to isolate and stay home because of the pandemic.
5. Game-Based Learning
Game-based learning has always been an option for teaching. However, the types of games have evolved. Board games, card games and electronic games provide supplemental education and practice. Where flashcards become tedious, an electronic game with sounds and games keeps children engaged.
6. Music or Art Lessons
Embrace your child’s natural talents. If your child is passionate about music, provide them with lessons for an instrument of their choosing. A child who loves painting would enjoy a special easel. Support their love by listening when they talk about their interests. Listen to symphony performances with them. Take a virtual tour of a famous art museum. Whenever possible, create space for them to engage in their favorite hobbies and passions. An art space doesn’t need its own room; a table with their art supplies shows your talent support.
7. Get Cooking
Embrace your child’s love of helping by making them your sous chef. Cooking teaches a myriad of skills, including mathematics. Have children help you measure ingredients and double recipes to promote some solid math work. Cooking also requires safety skills. Teach children essential lessons on using the stove and oven and cleaning up and food safety.
Even the most mundane tasks can transform into fun learning activities with a little imagination. Helping children reenvision their learning helps them generalize new skills. Keep your child’s interest at heart provides the motivation that will intrigue them and keep them coming back for more.
About the Author
Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.
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