Lifelong learning is essential for the adult brain, and the decision to be a lifelong learner depends greatly on the educational experiences in childhood. We teach our children to either despise learning or to love learning during the elementary school phase of childhood. In fact, our experiences during childhood shape pretty much every aspect of our development into fully functional adults. I had a math teacher in the 6th grade who was just annoyed by the fact I did math in my head. After a few conferences with him and my mother, he concluded that it didn’t matter anyway, “girls will never be good at math.” Instead of taking it as a challenge, I took that to heart and have had issues with math ever since. This is why making learning fun is so important for our children.
If you are a tech-savvy family, the digital treasure trove at your finger tips will surely get the youngsters engaged. There are apps for everything, from math to geography, from reading to music. There is also a neat trend teaching how to read longitude and latitude instructions to find “treasures” placed in various hiding spots around the country. Geo caching is making waves across the United States and is a fun way to teach a little geography.
The internees are full of wonderful education-centered activities that engage the minds and senses as much as a computer possibly can. There are websites dedicated to making learning fun, with printable activity sheets as well as interactive learning challenges. For those who would rather be more hands-on with learning experiences, there are plenty of activities in pretty much every town across America. Museums, historical societies, national monuments, tide pools, and even an ordinary nature trail can be an educational experience disguised as fun. Who doesn’t want to go on a field trip?
My favorite super fun way to learn something new is to try experiments. Usually a scientific-based activity, experiments are a fun way to engage and motivate your children to learn new things. Some simple experiments to try could include dropping a corroded or old penny into a cup of cola to see how long it takes to clean the penny up. Mix water, honey, and oil together in a jar to see how they separate. Place objects in buckets with fresh and salt water to test what floats better in which kind of water.
One fun experiment my oldest son did that actually worked out benefiting us grocery wise, was testing baggies and containers to see what keeps veggies and fruits fresher, longer. Want to know the results? Try it for yourself!
One final way for today to make learning fun is to satiate curiosity. Ask your child what he or she wants to know about; even if you don’t have an immediate answer, the experience of exploring that question can be just as fun as any other learning endeavor.
The other day, the wind was blowing and my youngest asked where it comes from. I am the first to admit that I didn’t have an answer, and we had to search it out. We both came out knowing something new that day, and as an avid lifelong learner, that is awesome every single time it happens!