How to Make School and Learning Fun
Most people have fond memories of elementary school. Playing with your friends on the playground, dominating at tetherball or gossiping and giggling on the monkey bars — these are the fun experiences we reminisce about.
Today, we hear a lot about Common Core standards and getting students ready for college. Gone are the carefree days of elementary school, as teachers and parents push kids to excel to even higher learning standards.
Why It’s Important to Make Learning Fun for Kids
Kids need fun at school. When teachers make learning exciting, students are more willing to participate and often find the lesson more memorable. So how can we make school more engaging and interesting for students?
Read the full article or jump to a specific section:
- Break up Lessons
- Offer Choices
- Incorporate Games
- Have Group Time
- Move Around
- Use Hands-On Activities
- Be Creative
- Plan Field Trips
- Use Technology
- Go Outside
Ready to start designing your playground to make learning more engaging for students? Contact our team of experts today!
10 Tips for Making Learning Fun and Engaging For Children
Making school fun can give kids a lifelong love of learning. To keep your students engaged and motivated, throw in some variety. Here are 10 ways you can make learning and education more exciting for your students.
1. Break up Your Lessons
Many lessons involve lectures, especially when you’re introducing a new topic. But you can’t expect young kids to stay engaged as they sit still listening to you talk. Breaking up your lesson adds excitement and keeps your students interested.
Give an introduction, then try an activity. Go back to talking, then pull out another group exercise or get students out of their seats for a round of jumping jacks. Finish the class with a discussion. Even a 30-second break every six minutes or so will do wonders. Try to vary what you do for every lesson and how you teach every day. Learning in new ways and doing novel things can help kids pay attention to the material.
2. Give Your Students Choices
Kids don’t get many choices in their daily routine, either at school or at home. Sometimes all they want is to have a say. When kids have the power to choose, it helps them become more engaged and buy into what happens next. Try letting them pick the activity that goes along with your lesson or what homework assignment they will work on that night. Giving kids choices will make lessons more fun, all while instilling them with decision-making skills.
3. Incorporate Games
Games are an incredible way to add instant engagement to your lesson plan. They make learning more fun, from review time to memorization drills. Games don’t need to require a lot of prep time or expense, as there are thousands of free educational games online. Students will look forward to review days and other lessons with gamified elements.
4. Create Group Time
When you allow students to work together, they retain information quicker and longer. Cooperation also helps develop critical thinking and communication skills. Group time breaks up the same routine, making learning and your lesson much more enjoyable.
Here are a few tips to keep group time productive.
- Keep it short: Cap group time at five minutes to keep students focused on the task they need to accomplish. Once time runs out, call students back to discuss their takeaways and answer any questions they may have.
- Assign roles: Give each student a role within their group. Students will know what to expect when group work begins, so they’ll be able to focus easier.
- Provide sentence starters: Jumping into a group conversation with classmates can sometimes be awkward or intimidating. By providing the start of a sentence related to the topic, you’ll give students a jumping-off point to get the discussion started right away.
5. Get up and Move
Most elementary school kids don’t like to sit still for very long. Your kids deserve a break, and so do you. It’s time to get up and get moving.
If you see your kids lagging, give them a brain break or incorporate movement into your lesson to make it more fun and engaging. These breaks are a great way to give your students a quick two minutes of downtime.
You could also incorporate movement into your lesson plans. Here are some effective teaching methods that encourage kids to move around.
- Silent discussion boards: Put up poster papers around the room with questions written on them. Students can walk around the room and write their answers to the question on the paper before moving on to the next question.
- Walking and talking: This method combines group work and movement to create an engaging setting for discussion. Students partner up and discuss the topic while moving around the classroom together.
- Stations: Divide the room into several groups based on different tasks or questions related to the topic. Every few minutes, students will rotate to the next station and begin the next task. This method keeps them engaged and allows them to tackle the topic from multiple angles.
Make sure you offer ample opportunities for movement. When they know a mini-break is on the horizon, your kids will stay more engaged and have much more fun.
6. Incorporate Hands-On Learning
Teachers have long relied on hands-on activities to make lessons fun and engaging. Apply these activities to almost any subject, from a preschool alphabet lesson to math, English and geography.
Hands-on learning, also known as “active learning,” puts students in control. Unlike traditional lecture-style lessons, hands-on activities encourage students to produce original insights, which pushes them to deeper levels of thought. Additionally, they can gain direct feedback from instructors on their projects, which can help encourage them to try hard in class.
An action-oriented assignment like an arts and crafts project is more meaningful to students and will likely be the lesson they remember most.
7. Be Open to Creativity
It’s easy to teach from the same lesson plans year after year. Once you have something that works, you may be a little nervous about trying something new. But remember — each year, you’ve got a new batch of students with various interests. Variety and creativity are the best ways to ensure learning stays fun.
Essentially, you should be open to your students’ creativity. Give your class the freedom to modify assignments and projects as long as they run the changes by you first. You may find that their ideas give a unique twist to a lesson. Plus, when students come up with something on their own, it’s more meaningful to them and they can develop confidence in their decision-making skills.
Holding classroom discussions is one way to shake things up. Turning the conversation over to students can help them focus better in class and practice public speaking, which over time can lead them to become more self-assured. Plus, you can gauge their understanding of the material based on how they answer your discussion questions. This tactic works best in humanities or language classes where there is room for open-ended answers, but you can also apply it to math and science topics.
8. Schedule Field Trips
Who doesn’t have fond memories of their class field trips? These treks outside the classroom are an ideal way for your students to connect to the outside world and engage with what they’re learning. From plays and museum exhibits to historical places, these and other field trips will be more memorable than a classroom lecture.
If your school has cut the field trip budget, try taking an online virtual field trip. Or, maybe there’s a cool opportunity within walking distance of your building. No matter how you offer a trip to your students, it’ll be a fun way to learn.
9. Make Technology Part of Your Lesson
Technology is a given in today’s world. From tablets and laptops to YouTube and Netflix, your kids experience an endless stream of devices, sites and software every day. Use technology as a tool to make learning more fun, familiar and accessible.
Stock your classroom with tablets that have exciting educational apps. Or show your kids a short clip on YouTube or TeacherTube. You can even create a PowerPoint or a video of your own. Technology is a great way to meet some of your students’ instructional needs. Additionally, integrating technology into the classroom can prepare students with the skills necessary for the professional world – most careers nowadays use some form of technology, so students must become familiar with widely used programs early on.
10. Take the Fun Outside
Recess — is there any word that brings more joy to a student’s heart? Looking forward to these outdoor excursions can make their in-class time more fun and engaging.
Kids need a break, yet many schools are doing away with recess in favor of academics. However, research shows that getting outdoors, playing on the playground and engaging with friends primes their brains for learning. Along with that, you and your students could enjoy these additional benefits of having class outside.
- Learning about different subjects: Of course, outdoor lessons can be ideal for science classes. But you could also go outside to supplement a reading class focusing on nature or an art class exploring landscapes.
- Improving grades: Taking lessons outside can boost grades. Kids can become more engaged with learning and grow their critical thinking skills, increasing their chances of doing well on tests and assignments.
- Reducing stress: You and your students deserve the chance to relax. Take a break from tests and lectures to spend some time outside and reduce everyone’s stress.
Get the Benefits of Teaching Outside With Playground Equipment
When you want to make school and learning fun and share the benefits of having class outside with your students, it helps to have an area made for kids. Talk to administrators about creating or enhancing your existing play spaces to give everyone in your school the chance to enjoy outdoor learning and play.
Playgrounds are valuable educational tools that you can use for applied lessons. You can even let kids have unstructured playtime to enjoy the benefits of playing outside, like improved problem-solving skills, confidence, independence, communication and creativity.
Miracle® Recreation Equipment Company would be happy to help you create a play area that promotes those developments and more for your students. We manufacture exciting play structures and components with a commitment to safety that’ll add plenty of opportunities to your school’s outdoor spaces. And with playground structures for kids ages 5 to 12, we’re sure to have something for your students. Consider these Miracle play equipment options to engage kids with learning outside.
- Themed playgrounds: Our themed playgrounds encourage creativity and storytelling. Bring play and your classroom lessons to life with themes from trains to fire engines and anything else you can imagine.
- Cooperative elements: Features that encourage kids to play together give you the chance to teach a lesson in cooperation and friendly competition. Use the Buddy Rocker to help your students learn about movement through cooperative play. Or choose a dual slide, like the Bump and Glide Slide, to encourage friendly competition.
- Interactive components: The entire playground is an interactive zone, but specific additions lend themselves to outdoor lessons. For instance, consider the Chime Panel and standing Concerto Chimes for an outdoor music class.
- Educational accessories: Add features like fun puzzles or our Alphabet Panel to engage kids with learning opportunities as they play outside. Teach young children about spelling and the alphabet with a quick outdoor lesson before they get back to playing.
To ensure your students get the playground they deserve, invest in high-quality equipment that’s as thrilling as it is safe. With Miracle Recreation, your school can receive a customized playground design that meets all your needs to ensure your kids have the best environment for outdoor play.
Learn more about our thrilling and safe playground equipment for schools. As your students look forward to another fun-filled recess, classroom time will feel more engaging and exciting. Contact us to discuss what works best for your school.