Have you ever wondered how different your career path may have been if you had enjoyed math class a little more? What if math and science lessons had been more fun and interactive, or related to real-life scenarios that you could better understand as a school-aged kid? If you said yes, or are nodding your head in agreement as you read this, it turns out you’re not alone.
Recently, in partnership with OnePoll, we surveyed¹ 2,000 parents/guardians and their school-aged kids to ask, “What makes learning fun?”
Interestingly, the survey results revealed that more than half of parents struggled with the same school subject as their kids do now. In fact, 56% said they felt most overwhelmed by math class as students, while 51% of their school-age children feel the same way today.
So how can you, as parents and educators, ensure that more kids are set up for success in math and other STEM and STEAM subjects in school?
Let’s explore more of the insightful responses we received to better understand how parents, teachers, and kids are making learning fun in the classroom and at home.
How can teachers make learning more fun for their students?
There are several ways to make learning fun to keep your students and kids engaged and help them rediscover a love for learning. So, how can teachers make learning more fun? Interactive lessons, more student collaboration, hands-on projects, and using fun, real-world examples are a great place to start.
Fun Learning Activities for Kids
Think back to your favorite class when you were in school. What’s a lesson or activity that you remember well? What made it fun? When we recall our years in school, throughout elementary and into high school, we often remember the classes and activities that were interactive, hands-on, engaging, and got us excited about what we were learning that day.
Maybe it was building a birdhouse in shop class, programming “Hello, World!” on a bulky desktop computer, or creating an “explosion” in the chemistry lab with a group. According to our surveyed parents, 84% of them believe they would have gotten better grades if their school subjects had been more interactive, or had included fun lessons and activities. Thinking back to your example, do you agree with them?
To build on that, 61% of the kids surveyed (ages 6-18) credited teachers with making difficult subjects more enjoyable by creating fun activities and lessons and using real-life algorithm examples that make sense to them (55%).
Work as a Team
Group projects are a great way to have students come together, share ideas, and work toward a collective goal.
Of the kids and teens surveyed as part of our research, 32% of them said a “best day at school” involves getting paired up with their friends for a group project, more so than watching a video in class (19%).
There are so many STEAM and STEM activities to try that get students working collaboratively in the classroom and at home. Working together not only makes learning more fun, but it helps strengthen the social-emotional development of kids at every age and learning level.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
More than half of the kids in our survey said they retain information better through tangible learning or getting hands-on experience with a subject. This experiential learning can happen in a variety of ways, like creating a clock face out of a paper plate to learn how to tell time, making a baking soda and vinegar volcano, acting out a skit to learn about a historical event, or even coding a robot to go through a handmade maze.
How can parents make learning fun for their kids?
As so many parents know, learning doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) stop when your kid leaves the classroom. Learning at home is generally less formal and more relaxed than it might be in a traditional classroom setting, but it’s still a great environment to reemphasize what your kids are learning in school. It also helps your kids feel supported and can be a fun way to connect as a family.
Make Homework Time Family Time
We asked our survey parents how they make learning fun for their kids at home. Over half said they do their kids’ homework with them and find educational tools or programs online.
And, 87% of parents would be open to new activities to try at home if it improved their child’s performance at school. Family STEM night, anyone?
When learning happens together and the whole family can get involved, it’s more fun for everyone.
Learning Is Fun, No Matter Where You Are
The past several months and school years have proven that students, educators, and parents are a resilient bunch. How did your students’ and kids’ education experiences change when the majority of us were working and learning from home?
In our survey, seven in 10 parents said learning remotely or in a non-traditional classroom environment has made it more difficult for their kid(s) to master certain subjects. That includes math (57%), science (39%), and English/Language Arts (32%).
However, nearly two-thirds noted that within the past two years, they’ve seen their kid(s) get more excited about a subject they weren’t interested in before.
What we can take away from this is this: with the right tools and an open, creative mind, fun learning can happen anywhere.
Make Learning Fun With Sphero
Kids of all ages, stages, and abilities find learning to be more fun when it’s enjoyable, relatable, and well, fun! From interactive activities to hands-on, play-based projects with friends, there are a wealth of ways to engage and excite your kids and students in the classroom or at home.
For more information on Sphero’s collection of programmable robots and STEM kits, and access to our library of hundreds of free STEAM activities, visit sphero.com or reach out to a Sphero Education Specialist today!