Wondering how to keep your children entertained and teach them something at the same time? Check out these fun educational activities that will keep them occupied.
By Ashwin Lobo
One of the bigger parenting challenges is to make sure that your child is having fun as well as learning something new at the same time. Having time for play is beneficial for all children but if play time involves educational games it can serve multiple purposes at once.
While playing outdoors is always the best option, sometimes circumstances may be such that your child has to play indoors. In such cases, designing indoor activities for him is a good idea. Not only will he learn something new, it will also give you an opportunity to bond with him.
1. DIY Dice Maths Game
Hone your child’s maths skills and have fun at the same time with this do-it-yourself dice game.
To make the dice, you’ll need a few cardboard boxes, preferably 8-by 8-by 8-inches. Stuff the boxes with waste paper, tape them shut and paint the outer surface black. Make white paper circles and stick them on the outside. Refer to a normal dice to get an idea of how you should do it. Once the setup is done, all you need is your children to start the game.
Make it a contest and offer rewards to further interest your children.
This game will build addition and subtraction skills and get your child interested in mathematics. If you’re short on time, it can be played with regular dice as well.2. Terrace Spelling Game
Here’s a fun DIY game that will enhance your child’s spelling abilities. In order to play it, you need to make square tiles with letters on them. You can use Scrabble tiles as a reference point. Collect square sheets of cardboard or any other material you have on hand to make the tiles. On top of each tile, stick a cut-out of a letter. Start off with 26 tiles for the 26 letters of the alphabet. Create multiple tiles for letters that commonly appear in words. You can increase the number of tiles based on the complexity of the words you want to test your child with.
Gather your children around or call some of their friends over. You will need some open space to play this game, so take the tiles to your terrace or backyard. Allot an equal number of tiles to each player. Ask one of the children to go first and make them spell out a word. Whoever goes next will have to create a word that connects with the first word, just like in a crossword puzzle. If a player is unable to make a word on any of her turns, she has the option to pass. At the end of the game, whoever has used the maximum number of tiles allotted to him wins.
This game will improve your child’s spelling sills, increase his vocabulary and give him a taste of some healthy competition.3. Feeling Charades
Feeling charades is a simple game which will improve your child’s ability to read facial expressions. No materials are required for this game. All you need is your children and their acting abilities. This game can be played on a one-on-one basis or in teams. Get one child to act out a particular emotion such as anger, love or happiness and ask the other one to guess. Once your children starts guessing simple emotions with ease you can get them to graduate to more complex ones like frustration, pity or trust. Make your children play through a range of different emotions and award points for each successful guess.
This game will improve your child’s understanding of emotions and enhance their ability to read facial expressions and body language. This will have an impact on developing his interpersonal skills.4. Bulb Growth Chart
Get your child to grow their very own indoor plant and watch how they learn some maths and science in the process. Buy some onions and potatoes with just a bit of the growing tips exposed. You can even use flower bulbs like tulips or daffodils. Plant these bulbs in a small pot or put their roots in water. Put them in a sunny spot and water when required. Behind each planted bulb put up a measuring stick with inch-wise markings. Every time the height of the bulb grows by an inch, have your child mark the date on the measuring stick. You can make the activity interesting by planting bulbs of different plants side by side and comparing how fast they grow. Your child can also experiment with varying amounts of water and sunlight to see how these factors impact growth.
Your child will learn some basics of plant biology. You can introduce the concept of photosynthesis to him by explaining how the bulb grows. Your child will also gain some understanding of measurements. You can put a centimetre scale beside the inch scale for your child to gain further understanding.5. Egg in a bottle experiment
This is a fun experiment to teach your child some simple physics. All you need is a peeled boiled egg, a piece of paper, some matchsticks and a glass milk bottle. Gather your children around, light the paper on fire and drop it into the upright milk bottle. Place a boiled egg in the mouth of the bottle, such that part of it is inside the bottle. As the paper burns, the egg will slowly squeeze through and land at the bottom of the bottle.
Once the experiment is done you can explain the science behind the egg falling. Tell your child that the fire heats the air inside the bottle and causes it to expand. When the flame dies, this causes the air molecules inside the bottle to cool down and move closer together. This creates a partial vacuum inside the bottle and the air outside tries to rush in but it’s blocked by the egg. This exerts a pressure on the egg and eventually the egg gets pushed into the bottle. This might look like magic to your child but explain to her that it’s just simple science.
These indoor activities are a great way to teach your child something new and help them have a great time. You can even call their friends over and plan an entire day for them where they play these indoor games. You will also get to bond with your child and evaluate her interests through these activities.
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