Incorporating the learning process into play can sometimes feel quite frustrating. You’d probably prefer your toddler to sit down and lose themselves in that unopened puzzle. Instead, they’re asking to play on your iPad or your smartphone. Unfortunately, with the huge tech takeover, it can be a challenge to keep even very small children away from devices. A lot of apps aimed at young children can be educational and there are certainly benefits of this. Today though, let’s look at some ways to turn their attention to learning through old-fashioned play.
Science can be fascinating for children. Experimenting with different materials and learning new things along the way, this is a great way to incorporate educational games. The Dad Lab has loads of brilliant ideas with helpful YouTube videos you can follow along to. In one activity, eggs, paper plates and glasses of water are used to explore gravity. It’s usually the simple things around us that easily can be turned into a game.
Lego has been widely popular since the 1930’s! There’s a reason it’s such a hit with kids. It allows them to explore their creativity, follow simple rules (connecting shapes in specific ways, but not in others) and it also allows them to interact with other children. Rather than leaving them to it, you could create some Lego maths games to steer the direction of learning. Basic addition and subtraction become a lot more exciting and visual.
If your child has had an involvement in creating their own flashcards, they will connect much better with them. Let’s take the animal kingdom as an example. You could use photo clippings from old magazines or even stickers to start creating basic flash word cards with your children. Have them learn each one before creating a new one.
It’s important that children learn to use their imagination in creative ways. This will serve them well through school and their working life, and not just in creative fields. Developing imagination helps with problem solving, idea generation and even independent learning. Of course, helping your child develop their imagination requires you use your own! For younger children why not create an imaginary beach using yellow sheets for the sand and blue sheets for water. Turn your living room into an entirely new place for them to explore. For older children the ‘hot lava’ game is great! If the carpet suddenly becomes hot lava, how can they get from a to b with limited items? If you’ve ever been to an escape room, think of it as a basic version of this.
With Christmas just around the corner, perhaps friends and family are thinking about what to buy your children. Maybe they’ve even asked you for suggestions. It’s worth letting your loved ones know that you’re trying to reduce the amount of ‘pointless toys’ and include games, toys, books and even movies that include some sort of learning outcome.