Make it a game!
We have students at our Harp Learning Institute learning centers play an assortment of games that support the activities that are taught in their sessions. Even so, sometimes kids will get bored. It’s easy to just throw some cards or dice out and expect them to make their own fun, but that can be difficult for some students.
Turning even the most mundane task into a game can make all the difference. For instance, one of our activities for students with Dysgraphia involves putting pop beads together. The kids would grumble about this, especially the boys. One day, I brought out a simple bell (the silver kind with a button on top…like in old post offices) and turned it into a game. I had the students connect twenty beads, and the first one finished rang the bell. Of course, the “winner” had to count out the beads, which was also good for math skills.
One of our least popular activities turned into one of the most popular, with kids begging to play with the dreaded pop beads. Of course, older kids were given different expectations, but the end result was what we wanted all along…strengthening muscles in the fingers and hands to help with writing.
It can be a challenge to make an activity fun, but if you set your mind to it, almost anything can become a game.
Of course, we are careful to not let these games turn into mean competitions. Everybody can be a winner when a game is involved.
So, how do you turn an activity into a game? Following are some ideas to help you.
* Time the activity. For instance, the person with the most, least, best, etc. in one minute wins. (Healthy competition helps kids strive for more.)
* The first one done can do an activity (like ring a bell).
* Play a game for imaginary items. For instance, the person with the nicest writing wins a brand new Corvette! Kids love this concept, and it costs nothing.
* Add academic or learning skills to a physical activity. This gets kids out of their seats and gives them an opportunity to excel at something else.
* The person with the most expression, loudest voice, quietest voice, etc. wins. (This is good for auditory skills.)
* The person who wins one game can be the administrator in the next game.
* Students can take turns “announcing” the rules. (This helps their memory skills and is good for self-confidence.)
You get the idea. Make it a game and see what happens. Truly, kids learn best when they’re engaged, and there’s no better way to engage them than by making learning fun.
To your child’s success,