Most young kids get excited when you talk about enrolling them in a preschool or homeschooling them. Since this will be a new experience for them, they will be eager to learn new things and take on more challenges.
But even if it seems there is no end to their enthusiasm now, once they start their formal education, you will find their interest in going to school and studying, in general, waning from time to time. The good news is that for younger kids, this lack of motivation is only fleeting; after a day or so, their eagerness to go to school or to learn will be reignited.
Whether your kids are enrolled in a nursery or studying at home, as a parent, you have the big responsibility of helping your preschoolers stay motivated as they start their academic journey. It is important that children learn how to sustain their interest in learning at an early age so that they can make use of and nurture this throughout their many years of studying.
One way of helping your little ones sustain their interest in schooling is to make learning fun for them, especially when they are at home. Here are five ways of doing so:
1. Turn learning into a game
Kids in nursery are naturally playful. You can help them find fun in learning by turning their lessons into games.
There are various simple games that you can modify to help kids learn, understand, and remember new concepts. For instance, if they are learning to count, play hide and seek with them. Vary the number they have to count to (don’t just stick to 10) so that they can start remembering the higher numerals as well.
Hopscotch is another classic, fun game you can use to teach math. The game rules are practically the same. But since the addition, subtraction, and equal symbols are added, they will learn about and practice doing basic addition and subtraction operations. You can also help your kids have an easier time memorizing colors, numbers, and other symbols by incorporating them in simple memory games.
2. Come up with interesting hands-on learning activities
Giving your kids opportunities to apply or practice the things they learn is a great way to help them remember and master these concepts. Finding ways to make these hands-on activities more enjoyable will ensure your little ones will consider these concepts interesting and useful as well.
If your children are learning about addition, review them using paper money with one dollar denominations. Prepare some items they can buy such as pencils, small toys, or packs of cookies and place price tags on them. Encourage them to buy different items and let them figure out the total amount they need to pay you.
There are numerous learning activity kits you can purchase that will give your kids several opportunities for hands-on practice as well. These kits include learning ABCs, writing, arts and crafts, and math.
3. Let them experiment
Science is one of the subjects that your kids will be taking year in and year out. As such, you need to ensure their interest in this subject doesn’t waver. You can do this by preparing some simple science experiments at home that will pique their curiosity.
For instance, if your kids are fascinated by rainbows, you can make one at home by using a glass, water, and water paper. Fill the glass with water (about three-quarters full). Hold the glass of water above the paper near a window and let the sunlight pass through the glass. The light will then refract and form a rainbow of colors on the paper.
This simple science experiment is a great way to introduce refraction to your preschoolers and teach them about colors as well.
You can also teach them about density, buoyancy, molecules, capillary action, and other concepts by conducting other science experiments through the use of some common household items.
4. Take them on field trips
Taking your kids out to learn something new or to connect what they are studying with the outside world is also a great technique to make learning fun for them.
You don’t have to go on long, tiring road trips either to give your preschoolers a fun, educational field trip. Here are some places you can take them to which you can find in your city:
- Public library
- Farm or fish pond
- Children’s science museum
5. Integrate technology
Lastly, kids today are naturally drawn to technology so let them use a tablet, laptop, and other devices to do additional research or reading.
There are various educational apps you can install on your smartphone or tablet that will give your kids supplementary hands-on activities as well. Certain apps are also great for introducing new concepts to young children.
However, you have to limit their use of gadgets every day. Keep in mind that too much screen time is unhealthy for kids. And in education, technology is only meant to be used as a supplementary learning tool. It should not be the primary teaching tool.
Even if your kids are enrolled in preschool, you need to keep them engaged and motivated to study all the time. You can do this by following the tips above and finding more ways to incorporate play and reduce monotony in your kids’ study plan and habits.
Lama Chivi is the CEO of Blossom by Babilou Education in the UAE. Having lived in Dubai for over 30 years, she combines the best of international practice and local expertise into this leading British Curriculum Nursery, delivering a top-tier and high-quality offering to the MENA region. The mission of Blossom by Babilou Education is to support children in building their own identity, self-discovery, and awakening while respecting their own pace and their uniqueness.