The sights and sounds of learning come alive in classrooms where students are inspired through hands-on learning. Kids are actively engaged, burning with curiosity, and eager to make connections between authentic learning and life. If our goal is to make learning developmentally appropriate and more meaningful, then we need to provide opportunities for experiential learning. Here are a a few fun suggestions:
STEM Activities – The areas of science, technology, engineering, and math provide countless opportunities for hands-on exploration. Pose questions, provide materials, and allow students to explore open-ended problems. Use STEM Challenges Learning Cards to offer diverse learning tasks that will get kids thinking and problem solving.
Games – Playing games and solving puzzles provide opportunities for students to develop strategies and sharpen both cognitive and social skills. Check out a few of these quality games that will engage your students and extend their learning in the areas of literacy, math, and science. Your students will have fun applying what they know and deepen their understanding in the process.
Readers' Theater – To help meet the needs of every student, you can offer a Readers' Theater Time—even your most reluctant kids will become more engaged and interested. Provide your young readers with a script, costumes, or allow them to create puppets to represent the characters. Make reading come to life as students analyze characters, explore problems and solutions, and follow the sequence of events while creatively weaving together drama and literacy skills.
Interactive Notebooks – Students can easily detach from a sterile note-taking process, so make it more individualized by creating Interactive Notebooks. Students can create and personalize notes with artwork, graphs, and other materials that will help them to deepen understanding and better retain the knowledge they have gained.
Play and discovery are vital elements for the developmental growth of our students’ social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Aim to make learning child-centered, open-ended, and more meaningful through hands-on exploration. Our students are more than vessels waiting to be filled, so challenge them to investigate, create, and make discoveries that will empower them as lifelong learners. Facilitating creative hands-on experiences will boost student engagement and make the classroom a more stimulating place in which both students and teachers can thrive.