5 Ways to Help Kids Learn Outside the Classroom (Without Worksheets) by Laura Pearson

Many parents stress the importance of academics with their children. But sometimes, a subject can be challenging to the point of frustration. In other cases, the rigors of the classroom aren’t enough to support a child’s interests in higher-level subjects. For both dilemmas, encouraging educational experiences outside of school can truly help kids thrive. And the best part is, there are no worksheets required.

Practice Fine-Motor and Planning Skills with a Drone

Flying drones is a popular hobby for many adults, and kids can benefit from the experience, too; for instance, controlling a drone requires fine motor skills, the ability to assess risk, and technical abilities. Enriching your child’s after-school experience with drone flying may not feel like “school,” but it’s ticking many of those boxes.

However, there are differences between drones for adults and those suitable for children. Comparison shop to find the best drones for kids without breaking the bank. For younger kids, fewer controls are ideal, while range limits may be a necessary safety tool for parents.

You’ll also need to understand local and federal rules on drone operation, even as a recreational user, says the FAA. Rules include registering any drone that weighs more than .55 pounds and following local guidelines on where you’re allowed to fly (and how high).

Use LEGO for An All-Around STEM Experience

LEGOs are popular on their own as an educational toy, and kids’ imaginations often take them beyond adults’ capacities for innovation. LEGO activities also lend themselves to STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math. To engage your young learner with math and science in new ways, try LEGO STEM activities like building a pyramid, creating a balloon-powered car, or DIYing a fidget spinner. For older kids, kits like LEGO Mindstorms also add coding into the mix, helping kids learn programming languages, and more.

Cook Together to Build Confidence (and Math Skills)

Cooking with your kids is a phenomenal way to bond with them. But mastering kitchen tools and learning family recipes also builds children’s confidence. The more independence they have while baking or cooking, the more they’ll enjoy — and learn.

Even preschoolers can help count ingredients and stir, while older kids practice math concepts like adding fractions and measuring liquids versus solids. You might also find that kids are more willing to try new foods if they have a hand in preparing them. In fact, studies suggest that kids who learn to cook make better nutrition choices later in life.

Grow Language Arts Competence by Surrounding Kids with Books

Reading is a struggle for many kids, and frustration can lead to a lack of interest in books altogether. To support literacy and provide your child with opportunities to grow their skills, make sure books are always accessible. Family Education’s literacy tips include regular trips to the library (let kids choose their own books), reading aloud together, and playing word and language games. Games like Boggle and Scrabble are engaging games that parents will enjoy, too.

Whatever Your Child’s Interest, Embrace Art

No matter the subject your child is challenged by, adding art activities to their after-school hours can help. As Parents explains, art exploration helps kids develop analytic, fine motor, and even math skills. What’s most intriguing about art for kids is that you don’t need to offer much in the way of instruction. In fact, inspiring your children to be creative often means being hands-off. Set up art supplies, keep an open mind, and see where your child’s imagination takes them. If you’re adventurous enough, consider painting a mural with your child in their bedroom or closet. If this is your first attempt at mural painting, start small and sketch your plans before getting started.

It’s difficult for parents to see their kids struggle with an academic subject. But the solution to supporting their progress could be as simple as baking cookies or flying a drone. Taking a creative approach is beneficial for both you and your kids — and their report cards.

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