There are many ways to learn and because children have different learning styles, it is essential to use a variety of styles to capture their interest and encourage broader learning.
What is the best way to learn? Children have different learning styles: they may be visual learners, meaning that they learn by seeing things; other children are auditory learners, they learn by hearing and speaking about a topic; and then there are the kinaesthetic learners, children who learn by doing and moving. Children are more likely to learn better if the material suits their learning style, but by using a variety of ways to learn, children will develop broader knowledge and a range of skills.
Ways in which children can learn
Through play: activities that are fun for children will ensure they are learning, without realising it. Games, acting, making things, drawing, and listening to and making music, are all opportunities for learning.
Discussion: talking about ideas and subjects improves understanding. Children can talk with their peers, teachers and parents, or even with themselves. Asking questions is one way to encourage discussion.
Experience and exploration: children learn by exploring the world around them. Going on class or family outings to the aquarium, or making a rocket at home, helps children understand concepts.
Reading: the world of books, both fictional and non-fictional, allows children to experience things that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. Through books children learn about volcanoes, space, glaciers and many more subjects.
Sensory exploration: using all of the senses can improve children’s understanding. Tasting, seeing and smelling cheese is a lot more interesting than just reading about it.
Active participation: getting children actively involved in learning means that they are going to be more interested, more involved and more likely to learn.
Activity packs to stimulate learning
Building an activity pack is one way to explore different topics with children using many of the different ways to learn. Parents and teachers can put together an age-appropriate activity pack on just about any topic. To do this, you will need:
Books: look for at least one fiction and one non-fiction title. Look online for ideas and then check if your local library has the books you’re after, or similar titles.
Outings: find nearby places to visit that will help demonstrate your topic to children. This could include a walk through the neighbourhood, a trip to a biscuit factory or a visit to the zoo.
Activities and games: search for games online, or look for DIY crafts and activities. If it is a difficult subject or one that could get a bit boring, look for fun activities to help children understand the new information.
Playing with toys that are different but age-appropriate will encourage the development of a cross-section of skills and learning.