This post is sponsored by KinderCare but all opinions are my own.
For our little ones, who learn through play, making learning fun is key! This post will focus on how to make learning fun for toddlers through kindergarteners, but it can also be applied to other ages too! I’ve learned some of these techniques from observing how teachers make learning fun in the classroom as well as my own experiences at home. Even today, I feel like I learn best in certain circumstances versus others and that’s because some activities or situations are more “fun” – even as an adult! When you crack this code, the possibilities are endless!
“Learning and memory occur in more than one part of your brain. The best way to retain new information is to involve as many parts of the brain as possible. If something is fun, interesting, or is associated with a positive emotion, it will be learned more efficiently” — Dr. Laury Paul, Pediatric Psychologist and Neuropsychologist
So as moms, how can we make learning fun at home?
10 Ways To Make Learning Fun At Home!
Let’s start with the senses! When you engage a child’s five senses! When one or more of these is used in an age-appropriate way, your child is likely to have so much more fun and learn more at the same time!
1. Sight – Using Bright Colors To Make Learning Fun
Young children LOVE bright colors! Have you ever seen Caillou? Who would really decorate their house that way?! Ha! It’s not drawn in bright colors because that’s how the producers envision Caillou’s house would be – it’s bright because children LOVE bright colors!
When you incorporate bright colors into your activities, children will be more likely to enjoy the activity and earn more in the process! Whether you are tracing letters or coloring in the letter A, incorporating bright colors is a great way to make the activity more fun! So put away the pens, grays, and browns…. and take out the bright red, blue, and green crayons! KinderCare has tips for how to add a splash of color to your child’s day.
2. Taste – Often Forgotten Way To Make Learning Fun
Babies love to put everything in their mouths. It’s a way for them to explore the world! Eventually, they learn other ways to explore but that doesn’t mean that taste becomes any less exciting! Even adults love to explore through taste! So why not harness that to help make learning more fun!
If you read my last post, All the questions you need to ask when choosing a childcare, you know about my recent trip to KinderCare to try out their Cooking Academy™! It was such a great example of learning through play!
The children got to learn fine motor skills like cutting and pouring, had a chance to hypothesize what their actions would do and how it would taste, had some great conversations working as a team, and then… got to taste the results! It was such a great example of how taste can help children learn better! The children were so excited to taste their creations that they were fully engaged the entire time and had a blast!
Check out the next post in my partnership with Kindercare where I will show you how to make a whole holiday meal with your children!
3. Smell – Sometimes Stinky Way To Make Learning Fun
Scent is another great tool in your arsenal. Personally, I think it’s one of the strongest senses… Have you ever been doing something and then smelled a familiar (or unfamiliar) scent that completely distracted you? It just grabs your attention!
So why not incorporate it into your activities? You can easily use scent to help make learning fun because kids love all sorts of smells like bubble gum, grape, and even cinnamon!
Here’s a fun activity that will combine scent and sight. Make your own scented modeling clay! It is SO easy. Just combine the following ingredients in a saucepan and warm:
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
Then remove the saucepan from the stove and slowly stir in 1 cup flour. Once it’s all mixed in, remove the mixture from the pan and kneed for a few minutes until it’s consistent everywhere.
Now you have your modeling clay! You can do so many amazing things with these but one of my favorite things to do is teach my kids their letters! Separate the modeling clay into 3 sections and add different fragrant rich spices to them! You can use extracts like vanilla or lemon. Or use cinnamon, cloves, or allspice. The options are endless!
Then grab some letter coloring sheets like these, have them roll the playdough into long “snakes” and then trace the letters using the snake! What could be more fun than learning your letters with yummy smelling modeling clay?
4. Touch – Using Shape, Temperature, Or Substance To Make Learning Fun
Have you ever closed your eyes and try to guess what something is just by tough? This is so much fun for little kids! Try putting a bunch of shaped blocks into a bag or a box. Then have your kids close their eyes, select a shape and try to guess what it is just by holding and touching it! Just adding the element of touch and having them close their eyes so that they can’t see the shapes makes it an instant game!
5. Hearing – Using Sounds or Songs To Make Learning Fun
In some way, we all know this one already! That’s why we naturally since songs with our kids and why there are so many nursery rhymes! What better way to learn something that to add music to it! “One, two, buckle my shoe…” or “The ants go marching…” We all sang those songs at one point and it helps little ones learn how to count! When in doubt, singing a song helps make learning such a blast!
Music is a powerful brain-builder that can help children learn all sorts of things. Check out KinderCare’s list of musical activities you can do at home and the skills your child will pick up from a playtime jam session.
Want more ways to make learning fun at home?
6. Follow Your Kids Lead To Make Playtime Educational!
Is your little one into trains? How about dolls? Incorporate what they love into educational activities! Count the trains, arrange the dolls into shapes, or talk about what color their plushy is! Everything is a learning opportunity!
7. Make It A Game
Anything can be made into a game and that’s one of the best ways to make learning a fun experience for your kids!
“How many red blocks can you pick up before the music stops?”
8. Give Them Choices
As parents, we often find ourselves directing our kids. “Get your coat on” or “Brush your teeth”, but rarely do we give them a choice without doing so consciously.
By giving them a choice, something they will be very excited about, we can create amazing learning opportunities!
“Do you want two or three carrots” – and then let them count them out!
9. Get Them Moving
Kids have SO much energy and it’s important to give them a chance to let that energy out! My oldest has always been a bundle of energy and now he’s a runner! (Surprise!)
When he was younger, we would practice counting while doing jumping jacks! Counting practice plus exercise! Win-Win!!
10. Set A Goal
Who doesn’t love to achieve a goal right? Setting a goal makes just about anything into a game so why not use that?!
“How many cards can we match before dinner is ready?”
How do you make learning fun for children? How do you make learning fun at home? Share yourideas below!
Stay tuned for my next post in this series on how to cook an entire meal with your kids!