How to Help Your Child Fall In Love With Learning

Child's hand drawing with crayons
From Pexels with thanks

Some people are naturally drawn towards learning. But in most cases, it’s something that they have to learn. And once the spark of learning has been lit, it’s a gift that sticks with them for the rest of their lives. You can — and should — learn just for the sake of it, but there are obvious practical benefits, too; the more you know, the better you’ll be able to market yourself in the working world. 

You’re never too old to learn the magic of learning. But it’s easier if you learn it in childhood, because of the positive impact it’ll have on your schooling. If you’re a parent, then it’ll be too late to go back in time and learn to love learning yourself, but you can instil it in your child. In this post, we’ll take a look at some effective, easy-to-follow tips for doing just that. 

Don’t Make It Too Serious

Many children end up disliking school and learning because it all seems so serious. They can be having fun playing with their friends, but then when it comes to getting down to learning, the fun very much stops. It’s no wonder that so many kids have a negative view of learning! You can do your best to help this by treating education seriously but not too seriously. It’s more important to focus on the process of learning rather than on outcomes such as exam results. If they build good learning habits, then the results will come in time!

Learning done properly, of course, is more like play than ‘work’, and there are many off-the-shelf (OTS) games which can help to instill learning skills, such as critical thinking, as you and your family enjoy time together.

Cluedo has been used to teach propositional logic, deductive reasoning and computer programming for example, and all of those thinking skills are exercised when playing – even if you are not deliberately ‘teaching’ those things.

Cluedo (Clue) is available on Amazon

Pandemic is, rightfully, very popular, for its engaging cooperative play and asymmetric player abilities. Playing allows the practice of problem-solving, as well as encouraging cooperation and strategic planning.

Pandemic is available on Amazon

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Encourage Their Interests

It’s unlikely that your child is going to be interested in every single subject. They’ll have a natural affinity for one of them, even if they don’t fully know it themselves. You can help to inspire a love of learning in your child by gently encouraging their interests and passions. If they’re interested in the universe, for example, then this may involve watching documentaries or listening to podcasts on the subject. You never know what a little encouragement might lead to!

And what about making those less favoured subjects a bit more palatable. Maths is often dreaded by many children, and an engaging game might be just what is needed to get them to practice those skills, maybe without even realising it.  City of Zombies is a favourite in our house, which still gets played regularly, even though we’re all now past the age of needing to practice arithmetic skills. Defeating zombies, and saving the human race, by practicing, and showing off, your addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and squaring skills, just never seems to get old somehow.

City of Zombies is available on Amazon

Fun Field Trips

Some children can learn all they need by sitting in a classroom all day. But many kids find that boring. It’s not learning that they dislike, but the method of learning. Of course, you can’t change the entire educational system all on your own. But you can ensure that your child has access to other forms of learning. For example, by signing them up for the residential trips that their school organises. It’s much more fun to learn on a fun field trip, after all! You may also organise your own day trips to museums, art galleries, and other interesting places from time to time. 

And on days where going out just isn’t an option, how about bringing those hubs of knowledge to you, with games themed around art, museum collections and more.

  • Wingspan – with beautiful cards representing the birds of the world, their habits and nests.
  • PARKS (and all its expansions) – to appreciate the beauty and variety of America’s National Parks
  • Museum: Pictura – features 180 of the worlds most famous paintings and gameplay where you must curate them by ‘domain’ or ‘period’

Wingspan is available on Amazon

And,of course, I can’t miss the opportunity to introduce my very own Museum of Impossible Objects – a tool for creativity, imagination and learning.

PARKS is available on Amazon

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Ask Their Thoughts

Finally, look at asking for their thoughts and opinions. There’ll be times when you’re very much the teacher, but there’ll be other times when they should use their own minds. Simply asking their thoughts about something is a good way to get their mind working. The earlier they begin using their brains, the more they will develop. 

Editor at Ludogogy
Sarah Le-Fevre is a games-based learning professional who specialises in organisational learning around systemic ‘wicked problems’, and helping businesses spot and exploit opportunities for ethical ‘for good’ innovation. She works with tools such as Lego® Serious Play® and the Octalysis gamification framework to create compelling immersive learning experiences. She is currently writing a book outlining a systems practice approach to delivering impactful learning within organisations.

A real board games nerd, she is considering having her floors reinforced to support the ever increasing weight of the boxes. When she is not designing or facilitating learning games she is the editor of Ludogogy Magazine. Sarah lives in Oxfordshire with her husband, younger daughter, and a beautiful (but very loud) Bengal cat.

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