Knowing what excites kids is the key to helping them master new skills and become successful students. Here's how to tap into their passions by making learning fun:
3rd Graders Love: Games with rules
How It Makes Learning Fun: "Games with rules help children think in multiple steps," says Ellen Frede, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and an associate professor at the College of New Jersey. "Discussing and negotiating rules also teaches them about give and take, and how to live in a democracy."
Motivating Activities to Make Learning Fun:
- Give your child a new board game. Choose an age-appropriate one that taps your child's interests — whether she's passionate about princesses, horses, baseball, or outer space. Reading and explaining the instructions and readying the game board for play fosters reading comprehension and problem-solving. Classic games, like Monopoly or Scrabble, are great skill-builders that also make learning fun.
- Play cards. Teach your child some of your childhood favorites. Kids strengthen fine motor skills by shuffling, cutting, and holding the cards, and boost cognitive abilities too. Each time your child slaps down a card, he's learning about number values and concepts like "greater than" and "less than." Go Fish and Old Maid reinforce your child's ability to categorize.
- Head outside for active learning fun. Active games like tag, hopscotch, hide and seek, and jump rope are wonderful for groups of friends to play together. These great socializers also promote physical fitness and gross motor skills. Keep balls, chalk, Frisbees, and other sports equipment in a tote bag by the door so it's easy to grab when you head to the park or playground for learning fun.
One step ahead: Find out what makes learning fun for 4th graders.