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School can be boring for some, but what if we made it fun for all? The following article suggests that making education a game, can help kids stay engaged by having fun.

Including games in school curriculum can increase fun and decrease anxiety.

The article 8 Play-Based Strategies to Engage Youth in Learning makes the following point, going to school causes dread in many students. They are expecting to perform at an optimal level while cramming information into their growing minds. When the school day is over, they often bring home enough homework to keep them busy for hours. However, there are in school activities that can alleviate the anxiety of learning.

The obvious way is to implement gaming into a curriculum. Students of all ages react to the visuals that games give, and many classes have begun to use Minecraft in several subjects. While doing this, they also form groups so that their social needs will been met. After all, learning goes beyond books. Allowing them to play and retain simultaneously, will result in a better outcome.

Open children up to expressing their emotions with others through games in learning.

In the beginning of any group, students will be unfamiliar and therefore somewhat hesitant and uncomfortable around each other. Playing icebreakers helps group members get to know each other in a fun way. As one method for sharing a lot of information, the author suggests the game “2 Truths 1 Lie.”

Building emotional intelligence can be done through games such as emotion-based charades, where one student acts out an emotion and other students have to guess. This will teach them how to read emotional cues and better understand each other. One other excellent outcome of increased emotional intelligence is that they will be better equipped to deepen relationships with each other. Have them split into threes and explain the “why” behind their names to really help them to connect with each other.

Play engages the brain, promotes creativity, contributes to personal growth, and growth in a group of peers.

When you combine play and learning, you increase success.

When you can incorporate play into learning, you will find that you can have drastically more positive results out of your students. Play engages the brain, promotes creativity, contributes to personal growth, and growth in a group of peers. When children can play and learn together, they can succeed.

Ways to foster play in a learning environment is to place children into groups and allow them to get to know each other. Ways you can do this—let the children teach each other different topics, use music to loosen the children up, and letting the children show off what they know. Doing so, can bolster confidence and create connections with other children through shared learning.

Key Takeaways:

1
“Play” is an effective way to engage learners of any age. It combines elements of novelty, competition, and physical movement—all of which keep the brain working, and working well.
2
The author recommends several strategies for helping play groups run smoothly. For example, she suggests icebreakers in the beginning, pushing to deepen relationships, and building emotional intelligence.
3
The author also recommends letting the students teach each other, use music, and let students show off—within limited periods of time—how much they know.

Remember when you were a child and kindergarten was a time to play and learn to tie your shoes? Well times have changed and it seems like all we hear about today is the common core standards, and how politicians are pushing for students to be “college ready.” How can we make learning fun again? Here are ten ways to help you engage students and make learning fun.

In the article, How to Make Learning Fun, the author makes the following points:

“Play is an important tool in our work with young people and adults. Nothing creates a safer space for youth to stretch themselves, explore, grow, develop skills, learn, and build relationships than the act of play. A lab for practice, play is an equalizer and a great way for you, the leader, to get to know your youth.

In play, you will see:

  • Personalities and even values come out.
  • You'll observe what students enjoy and what they don’t.
  • You’ll quickly get to know the individuals in your group.

Many times in the space of play, youth can simply “be.” Games provide a venue for youth to get away from the real world in a created space and scenario where they can practice new habits, new ways of relating to people, and new problem-solving techniques.

Play is a powerful strategy for putting into action many of the ideas suggested by research and social science. For example, inherent within play you can find challenge, novelty, and movement—all elements that help engage the brain and keep it healthy. Play builds communication and social skills, teaches self-awareness, and can be used to help build social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. Play contributes to both personal and group development, and it is a venue for helping youth decompress.

These days, education focuses on college and testing. There is no longer any feeling of fun. In order to bring back some positive enjoyment to the classroom, the author recommends using “play.” Games can motivate students by providing competition and a sense of newness. The author describes a variety of game-types, for a variety of time frames, group sizes, and skill sets. Any can be utilized by the educator looking to re-engage burnt-out students in the classroom.

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