5 Fun Ways to Combine Learning and Play

Studying for school is often boring for most children. Having to sit for a long time as the teacher delivers the lesson in front of the classroom is always a challenge for the little ones with short attention spans. Therefore, it helps to get creative with lesson delivery and learning so not only will the kids remember their lessons better but they will also understand the significance of these lessons.

Alternative learning methods are many. Teachers and tutors can use the arts and daily life activities to teach the three Rs (reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic). But perhaps, the most effective alternative method is teaching through play.

Early childhood care and development professionals say the fun aspect of play makes lessons more engaging and interesting for young learners. Therefore, if you have children who are struggling in school, use play to help them with lessons. Here are five ways you can combine learning and play for your children.

1. Teach sequence and patterns using play equipment.

Multi playsets are perfect for this particular lesson because you can create an order in which children should go about the different parts of the equipment. When children are finally able to play on the equipment according to how you instructed them to and they can easily follow adjustments, the lesson is complete.

2. Use small toys for establishing one-to-one correspondence.

Children learn the “amount” of numbers better when toys are used. When you use things that they value, it is often easier for them to remember “how many” a number is. Eventually, from simply reciting numbers, they will learn that every number corresponds to a specific count of things. The best toys for teaching this important lesson are marbles, small toy cars, and blocks.

Once the kids get how one-to-one correspondence works, you can proceed to teach both addition and subtraction — still using the same toys.

3. Develop fine motor skills for writing using sand.

Take the little ones to the sandbox or sandpit to teach them to write. With their fingers as the “pencil,” have them draw shapes and lines to form the letters of the alphabet. This is less stressful for the kids because the movements they get to make with their fingers are bigger than when they are simply writing on paper and holding a pen.

Aside from letters, children can learn to form (not just draw) different shapes. Kinetic sand is a fantastic didactic toy to use because it holds forms really well.

4. Encourage problem-solving through rope and play equipment.

Tying rope around play equipment is another fantastic teaching method to use. The rope will prevent the kids from using the slides, monkey bars, and swings. Therefore, they need to untie it so they can have some fun. This “game” encourages them to use “scientific” processes to be able to play. Likewise, it prompts them to work as a team to accomplish the task at hand.

There are different lessons taught here. Children learn to think critically to solve a problem and they also learn to take advantage of the social dynamics of the situation. By working with each other, they will come to understand that more people working together gets the job done faster.

5. Playground races for math speed and memorisation.

There’s nothing like playground races to put children’s understanding of lessons into action. The speed component that you add to answering mathematical and general information questions cranks up the young ones’ knowledge box.

This brand of play or game works effectively in reinforcing knowledge and retaining information.

There’s still a bunch of other ways to combine learning and play for young children. You are only limited by your imagination.

So, anytime your children are feeling bored with school and they display disinterest in learning, put your thinking cap on to come up with play or games that can teach lessons such as the examples provided above. Also, consider providing the little ones simple rewards. Fun and gifts (such as cookies, cakes, and gourmet desserts) is the perfect combination in motivating young learners to study.

Michael Davies is the Senior Account Manager at Sandleford, a trusted supplier of letterboxes and home security products and solutions in Australia. The company’s Swing Slide Climb range has grown and grown over the past 4 years, and together with Bunnings Australia, it has become one of the most exciting and innovative suppliers and developers of children’s play equipment in the Australian market.