Fun ways your child can practice lifelong learning at home

Your child can benefit greatly from lifelong learning, but it might not be the first thing on their mind right now. They’ve been eagerly waiting for summer when they can finally log off school. They’ve been home for weeks, becoming more restless by the minute. As the parent, you’re facing a bit of a dilemma. You want your child to enjoy themselves, but you also want them to keep their minds stimulated and engaged. That raises the question: how can you make lifelong learning interesting for your child at home?

Luckily, learning does not always have to feel like learning! It can feel like playing, creating, or relaxing. There are many ways for your child to practice lifelong learning while enjoying themselves! By the time September rolls around, your child will go back to school refreshed from their summer and ready for a new school year. All they have to do is try out these activities.

Play Games

Games are sure to stay a part of your child’s life for many years to come. This is completely okay! It’s a way for them to destress, socialize, and have fun, but also build critical and creative thinking skills. Almost every game includes an educational element—you just need to know what to look for and set reasonable expectations.  

Here are a few to consider:

Animal Crossing teaches community and world-building as well as survival basics.
Minecraft sharpens basic coding skills in a fun, interactive way.
Mario Kart asks your child to think about traction, acceleration, handling, and more when customizing a vehicle, which they can then test out on the racecourse.
Classics such as chess, Battleship, Chinese checkers, and Connect 4 build strategy and logic skills. Modern digital games do this, as well, such as Fortnite and League of Legends.
Mystery games, like Professor Layton or Nancy Drew by Her Interactive, involve complex puzzles and interesting facts about cultures, people, history, and careers.
Mad Libs tests your child’s understanding of parts of speech. You can buy the books, find printables online, or play with your Alexa or Google device.
Wordscapes and Words with Friends help with vocabulary  
2048 helps with math. For more math activities, click here!

With gamification, they may learn even faster than if they’d read a book on the subject. Of course, reading does have its own advantages, so your child should try to…

Consume Information in Many Different Formats

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” —Dr. Seuss

Books are the best way to learn, but they don’t have to be tedious textbooks! There are many children’s series that serve to both entertain and educate, such as the science-based The Magic School Bus and history-based The Royal Diaries. Another example is The Series of Unfortunate Events, which often defines fun vocabulary words like “ersatz,” or “replacement.” All books improve comprehension and emotional intelligence. Encourage your child to read about new characters and situations they haven’t experienced themselves.

If your child is less enthusiastic about reading, consider changing up the format; graphic novels can get even the most reluctant reader engaged and practicing their literacy skills. The pictures help readers who struggle to envision scenes, the sound effects are good lessons on onomatopoeia, and the heavy use of dialogue teaches them about voices and narration. If your child is more of an auditory learner, they can listen to audiobooks or learn new things through informational podcasts like “But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids.”

If your child prefers visuals, they can watch animated versions of books or educational videos. To minimize distractions, you may want to consider education-based platforms like National Geographic Kids or TedTalks rather than YouTube.  

Pick Up a New Skill

Your child can also learn new skills that go beyond academics. They should see that learning isn’t only about facts or equations but also about personal interests and growth. Consider a new sport or activity, such as skateboarding, or a new language, such as American Sign Language (ASL).  

See if you can do this activity with them or encourage other members of the family. For example, children love to talk in “secret languages.” By having someone to learn a new language and socialize with, your child will feel motivated and improve faster. They can also turn to fun apps like Duolingo, which uses gamification in the form of daily check-ins, rewards, and rankings to encourage habitual use! Practicing something can be a great way to absorb information, so…

Get Hands-on

Some children prefer learning actively and using their hands to reading facts and taking notes. If this is the case, a fun way for your child to learn something new is to become physically involved. If they want to learn about a historical battle, they can recreate the battlefield with papier-mâché or reenact it in a stage performance. Learn a little physics by riding a roller coaster, understand gravity a little better by participating in an egg drop contest, get a deeper understanding of coding by building a robot, learn a little chemistry and math through cooking. Just like how your child might have a study space to really focus on their schoolwork, you can create a “makerspace” at home for their more creative DIY endeavors. Integrating lessons in creative ways can be more meaningful than absorbing information through books or videos. What’s more, they may come out of the summer with life skills that go beyond academics. What else can they do this summer? They can…

Soak In the Fun In JEI’s Summer Series

Without even leaving the house, your child can participate in special summer programs including the JEI Summer Series at participating locations! Our learning centers are now offering various exciting activities for the summertime. Your child can participate in our reading, writing, and critical thinking events and workshops. This way, they can keep learning, socialize with others, and have a blast.

There are so many possibilities out there. Play some Mad Libs with your child—easily accessible with Alexa or Google Home! Challenge your child to a cook-off! Encourage your child to participate in the JEI Summer Series!  

Lifelong learning can become an everyday part of your child’s life through creative activities like these, so start today. For more information on the JEI Summer Series, contact your local JEI Learning Center.