How does fun help my child learn?
From a very young age children learn every minute of every day. They start making sense of the world around them through different experiences and observation is a big part of the learning process.
Kids learn best when they are having fun and are actively engaged as they observe more. Lots of research underlines the importance of play, especially in the early years where babies and toddlers learn through problem solving, creating and interacting. Problem solving can include how to roll a ball around the cat, how to build a circular car track or how to share play dough with friends.
When they are busy having fun, learning becomes natural and easy. Studies have shown that children learn best when the learning comes from a side-effect of a fun activity (such as sport or cooking). In addition, this learning is more likely to stick and stay with the child as they grow up. Play-based learning has become very popular especially in the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and KS1 curriculums, where learning is often disguised as play. You can therefore feel more confident when your child comes home and says that they didn’t learn anything today as they were too busy having fun!
Fun play can be created in many ways:
Playing with everyday scenarios: Children learn more when the subject is real and they can see the links to their own lives and it interests them. As a parent, you can create games and activities for kids around the things that interest them so that they learn naturally through fun. Simple practical examples include:
- Writing a letter to granny or to their favourite cartoon character
- Divide the fruit for dessert so that everyone has an equal amount
- Point out shapes in your local environment, for example, road signs, climbing frame, toy box.
All of these small games will help cement learning and make it purposeful.
Structure in learning is of course important too and a good balance between structure and play is essential in a development. Nursery and school, sports clubs, music classes and dance groups all provide structured skill and knowledge teaching. By involving your child in structured activities and by letting them play freely, they will develop a healthy desire to learn as well as good life skills.
Want to find some fun games that help your child learn?