Between homework, tests, and a demanding curriculum, many kids have a sour taste in their mouth when it comes to learning. They’ll put up a fight when getting on the school bus and turn up their noses at the thought of reading for pleasure. Curiosity and passion for learning, however, are important to childhood development. Help make your child the star of their classroom with these ways to encourage lifelong learning in children.
Plan educational outings
You don’t have to limit learning to the classroom. Step away from the textbooks and tests—plan an educational outing with your kids instead. Planning a trip to a local museum, for instance, offers a great way to show your kids there’s always something new for them to discover. With so many different types of museums around the world, some of which focus on very niche areas of study, you’ll surely find something to pique your child’s interest. Interactive museums, such as children’s museums and many science museums, will offer your child an opportunity to literally take their education into their own hands.
Reading together as a family is one of the best ways to encourage lifelong learning in children. When you start at an early age, reading to your children can help them develop comprehension and language acquisition skills faster. Reading fiction and fantasy stories together will help them develop their sense of imagination, and it may even encourage them to write their own stories. If fantasy books aren’t your kid’s thing, try choosing books with more real-world applications. Non-fiction history books will encourage your kids to ask questions and explore the world around them. It can also lead to engaging and thought-provoking discussions.
Encourage their passions
The pride of a good test score or stellar report card will only take your child so far. To truly exceed and become a lifelong learner, your child needs to have intrinsic motivations; supporting their passions and interests is the best way to achieve this. Allowing your child to select their own books at the library about subject matters they have an interest in, and having engaging conversations regarding their interests, will encourage your child to pursue learning outside the classroom.
Mistakes are the key to success. Teaching your child that it’s okay to make mistakes will encourage them to continue their educational pursuits when things don’t go exactly as planned. When their studies become difficult and your child wants to give up, sit down with them to explain that no great discoveries were ever made without a few bumps in the road. Help them learn from their mistakes, and encourage them to keep moving forward, even when they feel like quitting.
Offer hands-on learning opportunities
Sometimes the best way to learn is to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Rather than jumping right in to fix your child’s problem for them, work together to find a solution. This will teach them valuable problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and it will empower them to continue learning in the future. Crafts, blocks, and group board games provide interactive ways for your child to dive headfirst into learning and have fun at the same time.