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Learning Activities That Are Fun

11 Learning Activities for Preschoolers and School-Age Children

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School isn't the only place for learning activities. When your child's at home, you're his teacher. But everything doesn't have to feel like a classroom lesson. Get him excited about discovering something new when you disguise the learning activities as fun time.

1. Play Learning Games

Boy plays games as a learning activity
Photo © Apryl Duncan
Put learning in motion. Play games that get your kids moving while learning about a variety of subjects.

For preschoolers, start with a basic game that helps him learn farm animals, numbers, colors and shapes. Adapt the game for school-age children to cover anatomy, world government, foreign language and history. What you choose to teach with this game is only limited by your imagination.

2. Learn Phonics Basics

A picture of a boy reading
Photo © John-Morgan / Flickr
Teaching your child to read is one of the most wonderful gifts you will ever give him. Learning the basics of phonics prepares him for spelling and reading readiness.

You don't have to sit still in a chair endlessly repeating letter sounds. Try phonics activities that make learning phonics an adventure instead of a tedious lesson. Kids can play games, hunt for letters and even use a digital camera to bring their phonics lessons to life.

3. Practice Writing

Boy practices writing
Photo © bies / stock.xchng
Writing is a skill he'll use throughout his life. Teach him to write with methods that go beyond pencil to paper. Get messy. Let him trace. Connect the dots. He'll not only be entertained, he'll be better prepared for school.

For preschoolers, help him learn the alphabet and the motions of each letter. For school-age children, encourage him to improve his penmanship by helping you in your everyday writing tasks.

4. Identify Colors

A picture of a child picking up a pom pom
Photo © Apryl Duncan
Pink. Blue. Red. Black. Purple. Kids are interested in learning their colors at an early age.

With a pack of pom poms, you put them on a path to identify colors, start sorting and learn how to count. At the same time, you're helping them develop their fine motor skills by letting them pick up the tiny objects and gross motor skills are encouraged with a sorting game.

5. Develop Counting Skills

A boy plays a counting game
Photo © Apryl Duncan
1, 2, 3! Teaching your child how to count seems so simple but reciting numbers in the correct order is only the beginning.

Play a game that lets them physically touch the objects they're counting. Kids who are more advanced in their counting skills can try a variation of the game that will challenge them to think beyond 1, 2, 3 and in terms of how many objects they actually see before them.

6. Teach Math

An abacus used in learning activities
Photo © winjohn / stock.xchng
Math is an easy subject to teach because it's all around us. Add the number of people waiting at a restaurant. Divide the number of soccer players on the field by the number of water bottles on the bench to see how many people don't have anything to drink.

For preschoolers, your future math whiz can get an early start on number recognition and learning to count. For school-age children, tackle fractions and other advanced math problems with math games, an abacus, even cookies!

7. Enrich Their Minds with Music

A picture of a girl listening to headphones
Photo © Jam Photography / Getty Images
Mary Had a Little Lamb and The Itsy, Bitsy Spider are on a constant loop in your children's playlists. But there are so many more musical activities you can play together to instill a love of music they'll carry with them throughout their lives.

Hit the right note with fun music classes, making your own music instruments and playing musical games. Preschoolers love the one-on-one time with mom and dad and school-age children can begin formal training to enhance their musical skills.

8. Try Science Experiments at Home

A picture of a child playing with test tubes
Photo © Digital Vision / Getty Images
Think "science experiment" and you might have visions of a chemistry lab explosion. Fear not. You don't have to turn your kitchen into a blast zone to teach your kids about science at home.

Preschoolers will enjoy simple science experiments that don't require much of an effort on your part, yet are jam-packed with fun learning opportunities. Your school-age children can try science experiments that are a bit more involved but won't leave your house a disaster area when they're finished.

9. Plant a Garden

Girl plants a garden
Photo © CraigPJ / stock.xchng
There's more to planting a garden than sticking a seed in the ground and waiting for something to grow. Gardens are lessons in science, nutrition and patience all rolled into one plot of dirt in your backyard.

A garden teaches preschoolers how plants come to life. It's also an easy way to teach him about nutrition and get him excited about eating the vegetables he's grown. School-age children can keep a gardening journal, study a plant's scientific name and grow more difficult plants.

10. Create a Website

Mom and daughter on the computer
Photo © Nancy Ney / Getty Images
That magic box on your desk is an open door to learning. Turn on the computer and create a website together.

Preschoolers may not be the best website designers. But they're not too young to have their own website. With your help, they can take pictures for their site, tell you what they want to say on their blog and learn what it takes to make a website run smoothly. When they're older, you can redesign the site together and turn over the keys without having to do as much for them. School-age children are ready to manage most of their own site, which will help improve their writing and thinking skills. You can also use his website to teach him how to stay safe online.

11. Explore World Cultures

Kids in traditional dress
Photo © mckaysavage / Flickr
Put down the textbook. A little creativity can help you teach your child about world cultures in a way that will make learning fun while enriching his awareness of other people's traditions and ways of life. The world will never look the same to him again.

Preschoolers can enjoy making crafts he might find in other countries and tasting authentic foods you cook together. School-age children can study cultural etiquette, find a pen pal from that country and learn words from the official language.
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