Children’s minds are like sponges, ripe and ready to learn. However, when activities are boring, all too often children can switch off- making it harder for new information to be absorbed. However, by making learning engaging and fun, it is possible to keep their young minds working.
Here are seven tried and tested creative activities for kids that we recommend to boost children’s learning, as well as keep them entertained when not at school or nursery. These activities are ideal for kids at home as well as during weekends and school holidays.
#1 Get creative in the kitchen and gain important life skills
Get children involved in the kitchen by choosing easy recipes for kids to make by themselves. Good examples include preparing food such as fairy cakes, savoury quiches or risottos. By getting involved with activities in the kitchen, not only will children have fun and develop important skills for life, they will also develop skills such as patience, planning and key elements of numeracy and literacy. Easy and interactive activities in the kitchen include reading recipes, writing shopping lists, measuring out ingredients, calculating cooking times and setting timers. Children will relish the opportunity to cook and will gain lots of learning benefits as a result.
Key skills developed: patience, planning and numeracy.
#2 Work together to write a story to fire up imaginations
Children love to use their imaginations and when they work together, their imaginations really fire up. Story making is a fun and free kids activity to enhance language skills. Writing can give children the freedom to dream up plots, and develop characters. Writing should be free, and children should be able to create stories about whatever they like so that they have the freedom to take control of their own learning. Writing a story is an activity that will support the development of vocabulary and writing skills- and the children won’t even realise that they are learning!
Key skills developed: language, imagination and self-expression
#3 Make musical instruments from recycled materials to enhance creativity
Making children's homemade musical instruments from recycled materials is a quick and easy craft activity to boost creativity, musical skills and confidence. Instruments can be made from almost any material. For example a miniature xylophone could be made from ice lolly sticks and a box, a drum could be made from an old bucket with mixing spoons used as drum sticks, and a shaker could be made by filling an old crisp tube with buttons or rice. Allow children to be as creative as possible with this activity, and why not encourage them to write or perform a song with their instruments afterwards?
Key skills developed: creativity, musicality and confidence
#4 Act out a scene from a favourite book to develop communication skills
Acting out a scene from the child’s favourite book using handmade props will encourage children to use their imaginations and help them to develop communication abilities. Props and costumes can be made from recycled materials such as cardboard boxes and old sheets. Hand-making the props and acting out the story will be fun and entertaining for all involved and can bring learning to life. If children are able to work with other children to act out the scene then this activity can also boost social skills and team work.
Key skills developed: communication, team work and vocabulary
#5 Go pond dipping and develop science and environmental skills by exploring beneath the surface
Pond dipping is free summer activity that allows children to explore beneath the surface of the water- where there is a whole new world just waiting to be explored. There are loads of activities outside that are great for when it is sunny and warm. Pond dipping is an activity that can be done in almost any weather, and in even the smallest of ponds. Children of all ages will be amazed to discover the range of interesting things that live in the water. Pond dipping is an interactive activity that can boost scientific skills and knowledge, as well as increase vocabulary.
All that is needed to go pond dipping is a pond, and a net, a tray, and a camera. Simply fill the tray with some pond water, then dip the net in the water and pour whatever creatures you find into the tray. Look closely at the creatures and then take photos. Talk about what the creatures look like and what they might be, then you get back inside look online with the children to discover more about the organisms lurking in the water. (NB. never leave children unsupervised when pond dipping).
Key skills developed: environmental awareness, scientific knowledge and independent research
#6 Create masks of favourite animals to boost vocabulary and enhance creativity
Use paper plates, paints and any other crafty materials that may be available to design and create colourful and fun animal masks that children can play with, wear and enjoy. There are great tips for making creative masks online, but the simplest masks made using the child’s imagination are often the most effective- so allow the child to create freely. This activity will enable the child to get creative and increase their animal vocabulary.
Key skills developed: creativity, presentation, and dexterity
#7 Plan an experience day to develop strategic thinking and achieve goals
Planning an experience day is an excellent way to give a child responsibility as well as allowing them to develop computer, writing and numerical skills. Ask the child to think about an activity day that everyone in the family could enjoy. Ask them to search online for ideas and places to go. Then ask them to write down and describe the activity in detail. Ask them to consider things such as what will be needed for the day- will they need to prepare food or buy tickets, if so how much will things cost. The child will enjoy having the freedom to explore and will relish the opportunity to be ‘like a grown up’.
Key skills developed: internet research, forward thinking and empathy
Attending school or nursery is a great way to boost children’s learning as well as boasting a range of other benefits. But, when not a school or nursery it is important that children keep on learning. This list of seven activities can help- all are easy to do, and require very little equipment, but as they are fun and engaging, they will encourage children to learn outside of the classroom!
Let us know what your favourite children's learning activities are in the comments below.