Get Kids (Learning) Playing


By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | May 28, 2014

Many parents look forward to children’s vacations from school but each summer also brings dread. What do you do when the kids finally utter the first ‘I’m bored’?

The day that I learned how to create a rainbow in Photoshop I was so proud that I honestly felt like celebrating.

Boredom can be so pervasive for kids during summer that they could almost taste it – and if they did, it would be similar to week-old socks with a hint of sweat and gutter dirt. After my stroke and being unable to do much else, I played computer games till I thought I was losing what few marbles I had left. That was when I decided that no matter how much it hurt or how tough the struggle, I would learn something new. I learned more about Word documents, about genealogy, how to blog, then wrote articles and posted them on the blog, then I tackled Photoshop and HTML. Learning and doing something productive every day probably saved my life. The day that I learned how to create a rainbow in Photoshop I was so proud that I honestly felt like celebrating. I believe children, given the challenge, can quash their own boredom and learn on their own when given the challenge and opportunity.

How do you get children interested in learning?

Within a few minutes I created a character I called Victor Viking who, oddly enough, reminds me of my husband and no longer lives in the land of Boredom.

Disguise learning as fun for kids and show them the exciting things available. In StoryJumper children can create story books online using props, scenes, photos and text. Within a few minutes I created a character I called Victor Viking who, oddly enough, reminds me of my husband and no longer lives in the land of Boredom. There is no cost involved and the program is for kids in grade 1st to 5th grade, although, I enjoyed it immensely.

Videos present an idea or problem and children think up designs that may improve on or solve an issue like Deysi’s jacket, lined with bubble wrap to keep warm.

Challenging children to solve a problem or to come up with a solution is the ultimate contemporary jigsaw puzzle. In Design Squad Nation, kids find a category that interests them among art, fashion, games, food, music, robots, flying and more. Videos present an idea or problem and children think up designs that may improve on or solve an issue like Deysi’s jacket, lined with bubble wrap to keep warm. The possibilities are endless and kids are recognized for their creations.

Deysi’s Bubble Wrap Video

Pay children to learn, explore and create. The currency does not have to be cash. Learning to use and apply what is learned takes time and thought, deciding what parents use for currency may be the simplest part. Preparing a child’s favorite dinner is payment. Doing one of the child’s chores for them is payment. Over the years I have known parents who used game time, trips for fast food, to the mall, the movies or the craft store to shop as payment. If my girls were still young I might suggest one completed learning project would be worth five points toward a trip to the craft store for art or beading supplies that may require 75 points.

Demanding a child learn something does not work as well as lighting the spark of creativity and imagination. That spark, once lighted, is difficult to extinguish. The love of learning is what we all carry within us that pushes us one step further to pick up another book, to ask why, to try another way or to scrap it and start over. The contemporary Maker Movement capitalizes on that drive to learn for the next crop of future inventors, creators, explorers and entrepreneurs. Any child could be part of that crop.

Watch this recent Upworthy video:

Leave It To Some Little Kids To Come Up With Creative Fixes For Huge Problems. No Big Deal.

Links to Maker Movement blog articles with resources:

13 Sites and Apps for Young Makers and Creators by Ellen Holderman

16 Websites and Apps for Making Videos and Animation

10 Awesome Apps and Sites that Spark Creativity

Q&A with David Cole: Why We Need the “A” in STEAM

Check out the Education and Crafts, Games & Activities tabs on the Soup To Nuts blog for more links for the Maker Movement and other resources:

Soup To Nuts – Education

Soup To Nuts – Crafts, Games & Activities

Do you have a resource to share? Share links for children and learning at the contact box below!

*Thanks to Walter Rhett, writer, publisher and blogger friend for these excellent fun educational resources for parents!

PHOTO CREDIT: StoryJumper, PBS Design Squad Nation-Deysi & Bubble Wrap

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

New Jersey 24-Hour Family Helpline: 1-800-THE-KIDS

Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc.
Phone: (609) 585-7666
Fax: (609) 585-7686
E-mail: PANJInfo@PAofNJ.org
Website: www.PA-of-NJ.org

Join the Online Support Group
Wednesdays 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. EST
Thursdays 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST

Facebook: Parent Rap – Soup To Nuts

Parents Anonymous® Inc.
Phone: (909) 621-6184
Fax: (909) 621-0614
Website: ParentsAnonymous.org

National Parent Helpline
1-855-4A PARENT OR 1-855-427-2736
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
This entry was posted in Education, How-To, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Share your thoughts and ideas!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s