Learning is an opportunity typically open to anyone, but it can take on an entirely new meaning when it becomes a family activity. In this post, we'll look at four unique ways to make learning fun for the whole family.
Are you looking for ways to incorporate learning into family time that go beyond the traditional ''watching an educational show'' or ''going to a museum''? If so, kudos to you! We already know that quality family time has many advantages, but when learning gets thrown into the mix, the benefits may be even greater.
Having said that, it can sometimes be tricky to come up with fresh ideas for engaging family learning activities. You want your family to increase their knowledge and have fun together, but you don't want to be stuck using outdated or ho-hum methods over and over again. Below we've compiled a list of four lesser-known ways to make learning a family activity.
1. Go Geocaching
While most people love scavenger and treasure hunts, they're usually a novelty instead of an everyday occurrence. Enter geocaching: a real-life outdoor game that allows you and your family to search for special ''treasures,'' known as geocaches, anytime and almost anywhere in the world!
Using a GPS-enabled device, players bring up a list of nearby geocache locations (you'd be surprised by how many exist!) in the form of predetermined GPS coordinates. They then navigate to the coordinates and search for the geocache at the site. Accompanying the geocache is a logbook where players enter their information before returning the treasure for others to find.
Geocaching is a great family activity for learning as it encourages exploration and teamwork. It also allows participants to discover locations and things they never knew existed—sometimes right in their own backyards!
2. Put Online Resources to Good Use
These days, the Internet provides a wealth of resources that have the ability to transform learning and make it a fun family activity, like thousands of user-friendly online courses available in all subjects and levels. These courses use engaging videos to make learning fun and relevant for all ages. You can use these resources to reinforce important concepts that your kids are learning at school or to introduce your family to pretty much anything else under the sun in an accessible, real-life way. Goodbye clunky, not-so-exciting encyclopedias and monotonous National Geographic episodes!
There are also countless apps and games out there that put a whole new spin on learning. From Epic!, a digital library app featuring thousands of popular kids' books, to classic games, such as Wheel of Fortune, available online and via app, these electronic resources make it easy for your family to come together and participate in fun yet meaningful activities.
3. Take a Hike - at Night
Daytime hikes can certainly be educational, but when you take a hike at night, there's a whole new world to explore! To get the most out of this family learning activity, you'll want to pick a clear night to ensure good visibility of the moon, stars and, if you're lucky, planets. Also, downloading a celestial map app, such as Night Sky, can be extremely helpful.
When darkness sets in, round up your family and head to a location with little to no light pollution. Don't forget your flashlights! Have your kids look up at the sky and see if they can spot anything extraordinary, such as constellations or extra bright objects. Then, consult your app to verify the names of those constellations and objects.
4. Bring Science to Life with Bubbles
Everyone loves bubbles, but where do they come from? Depending on the ages of your kids, you can give them a quick science lesson on bubbles during bath time, using quality bubble bath or other liquid soap for the best results.
Explain to your child that surface tension is the force responsible for pulling molecules at the surface of a liquid (water in this case) into the remainder of the liquid below. Normally, water has a high surface tension due to strong attractions between water molecules, which is why bubbles can't form in plain water. However, when you add soap to water, it introduces new molecules that affect the way that the water molecules interact (soap molecules decrease their attraction). This in turn reduces surface tension and makes it possible for bubbles to form.
Keep in mind that this learning activity could also be done at the kitchen sink or outdoors in a bucket if one of those options better suits your family's needs. To make things even bubblier, try adding glycerin, corn syrup, or other substances to the water/soap solution to create bigger bubbles!
Start Learning Now
Now that you've explored some not-so-common ways to make learning a family activity, all you have to do is try them out! Since none of these ideas require much planning, you should be able to start learning as a family in no time!
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