Think of the brain as a living sculpture. It develops in reaction to our experiences and environment, meaning some changes beyond our control, but then again, some are not! Every time we try something new, the brain forms a new neural connection. This means we can deliberately train our brains to do certain things better and faster.
There is an important period in early childhood where our brains learn a lot of new things very quickly. As you know, kids go from helpless infants to escape-artist toddlers in a matter of months… Take advantage of this period of hyper-growth and encourage their brain development by making it fun to learn new things.
Tip #1 Develop Their STEM Skills
Developing STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math) is simply helping your child organize their thoughts so they can understand what is happening around them and why.
Luckily, kids are natural scientists who are in “sponge mode” from day one, with an insatiable need to soak up new information. Learning through play is the most natural thing in the world. At home, you can provide them with toys that engage their brains and apply STEM concepts, like this science lab kit, with 60 age-appropriate experiments for your young Einstein. Make sure they put on the included lab coat before beginning (have you ever mixed Mentos and Coke?). Have fun!
Developing STEM skills starts with being more observant. Encourage your kids to notice details about their surroundings by noticing them yourself, then asking your kiddo questions like, “Why do you think ____” and, “Can you think of anything else like that?”
Teach them to ask the right questions, then you can work together and answer them through an experiment. Let their curiosity lead the way and encourage questions about nature, technology, architecture, and machinery (many kids go through a crazy-for-cars-and-trucks phase).
Tip #2: Teach Them to Love Exploration
Metaphorically speaking, learning is the ultimate way to explore the unknown, but exploring IRL is really fun too!
One easy way to do this is to set up a treasure hunt around the house, using clues they have to solve to get to the next step. This is a great hands-off activity for parties (or anytime!) that rewards your kids for using critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Have they seen Indiana Jones? They could become real-life archaeologists and hunt for their own gemstones and dinosaur bones! Give them the adventure of a lifetime with an excavation kit guaranteed to get your kids digging and brushing away for hidden treasure. Alternatively, you could hide some “treasure” in a sand pit or at the beach, and watch them go wild!
Tip #3 Foster Creative Thinking Through Art
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “creative” as the ability to create something new, rather than imitate something that already exists. The world changes very quickly these days, so creativity is an important trait because your kids will continue to encounter difficult situations they’ve never seen before, and they need to be able to imagine new solutions. They should never stop learning.
So, how do you teach creativity? The great news is kids are born with a creative toolkit, they just need encouragement and a few supplies. Art helps kids let their imaginations run free and express themselves.
Give them a one-of-a-kind experience and bring their unique ideas to life with an arts and crafts kit! Wouldn’t it be fun to decorate their own cap or make a personalized tie dye mask? Just give them the tools and let them do their thing. Be sure to praise their efforts and make art a fun and rewarding activity!
Tip #4 Make Traditional Learning More Impactful
Kids live in the present and learn best when they use the five senses to explore the world. Adults are better at abstract thinking, but honestly, if someone wanted to explain the concept of gravity, wouldn’t dropping a ball be more effective than reading you a long math formula? You know it would!
Knowing that, the best way to teach your kids is through hands-on activities. Want to teach some math? Explain the principles of subtraction, addition, and multiplication by moving objects around on a table (maybe some candy like M&Ms or Skittles, so they can taste them afterwards!). Want to teach a scientific concept like the lifecycle of butterflies? Visit a park and find some caterpillars, (you can connect this concept with the human lifecycle). While you’re there, encourage them to smell the flowers and feel the cool breeze. In summary, you can make learning more fun by engaging the five senses─taste, smell, touch, sound and sight. Enjoy!
Did you form some new neural connections while reading this article? We hope this gives you some ideas on how to make learning more fun for your kids