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Crafty and Fun: Easy Hands-On Learning Ideas to Motivate Your Child


Every parent dreams of raising strong learners, but let's face it, keeping the attention of children who'd rather be doing cartwheels than flipping through pages can be a tough gig. If your little ones are feeling a tad frustrated with reading or math read on. We’re happy to report that we’ve found a way to keep them engaged and building skills!  

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Hands-on learning is a powerful tool that can enhance reading and math skills, especially for learners who thrive on movement and creativity. By introducing a kinesthetic component to tasks such as reading, writing or mathematics, you can ignite your child's enthusiasm for learning.  

17 hands-on learning activities your child will love 

These activities are not just fun, they're so engaging that your little one won't want to stop! Let's dive in and uncover the magic of interactive hands-on learning together!

1. Letter-sound scavenger hunt 

Kickstart your child’s hands-on learning journey with a fun letter-sound scavenger hunt. Hide letter cards or objects that start with a specific letter sound around the house. Challenge your child to find and name each item. This interactive activity allows them to explore different letter sounds, making learning fun and engaging.  

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2. Phonics play 

Use letter magnets or alphabet blocks to teach phonics. Play word-building phonics games that reinforce letter-sound relationships and read phonics-based books. Phonics play is an exciting way to help your child develop strong foundational reading skills. 

3. DIY story stones 

Creating story stones is a fantastic way to promote storytelling skills for children. Collect stones while on a nature walk and draw simple characters on them with a black marker or add stickers to flat pebbles. Story stones are a tactile way to encourage your little one’s imaginative storytelling. This hands-on learning activity is also great for kids’ understanding and retelling of stories, as it can help them grasp the sequence and order of a story.  

4. Explore nature with outdoor math 

Take a leisurely walk in a nearby park, garden or nature trail. Make this a mathematics game, by prompting your child to count the number of trees, flowers or birds they spot along the way. Bring along a clipboard and paper to show your child how to make a tally. Count their tally together. 

5. Vocabulary treasure hunt 

Choose a "word of the day" and set off with your intrepid explorer on an epic vocabulary treasure hunt. Encourage your child to find the word in books, magazines and around the house. Discuss its meaning and use it in sentences throughout the day, expanding their vocabulary and language skills. 


6. Create pattern bracelets 

Use colored beads to create pattern bracelets together. Whether it's simple patterns like red, blue, red, blue or more complex ones, this activity fosters pattern recognition, sequencing and fine motor skills. It's a creative and educational experience all in one, with a bracelet your child can wear or gift at the end of it!  

7. Interactive storytelling 

Inspire your little one with a fun interactive storytelling session, using props and costumes around the house to act out stories. Encourage them to retell stories in their own words and discuss characters, plot and emotions. This activity brings stories to life with whatever you have lying around the house and it also enhances comprehension. 

8. DIY storybooks 

Empower your child to create their very own storybook with drawings and simple sentences. Help them write captions or dictate stories for you to transcribe. This not only promotes reading and writing skills but also sparks their creativity. 


9. Cooking with words 

Involve your mini chef in the kitchen and discuss recipe instructions together. Encourage them to identify letters or read labels and measure ingredients. This is an enjoyable hands-on way to foster reading and math skills. Why not create a personalized family cookbook as a delightful keepsake? 

10. Fraction pizza craft 

Combine art and math by drawing a pizza on a paper plate, cutting it into slices and labeling each slice with a fraction (e.g., 1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Decorate the pizza slices with toppings and practice adding and subtracting fractions by combining slices. This hands-on activity makes math fun, but be warned, it may spark cravings! 

11. Literary arts and crafts 

Select a favorite book or character and get busy with these literary arts and crafts ideas. There are plenty of hands-on learning activities this can inspire, such as making bookmarks, character puppets or dioramas related to the book. While crafting, discuss the book's themes and characters, deepening your child's understanding and connection to the story. 

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12. Dice game 

Stuck for ideas? Create two large paper dice with characters, objects or environments on them. Use these to spark questions and create stories. This hands-on activity works for all ages and encourages imaginative storytelling and critical thinking.  

13. Create collage sentences 

This hands-on learning activity makes good use of repurposing magazines and newspapers around the house. Challenge your child to cut out words to create sentences with subjects, verbs and adjectives. This activity enhances language skills and creativity. 

14. Silent letter snap 

Teach silent letters (e.g., KN, WR, MB, GN) by creating cards with words containing silent letters. Your child can draw pictures or add stickers to these cards and play Snap when the words match. It's a fun way for little learners to become familiar with these tricky letters. 

15. ABC hopscotch 

Draw a hopscotch grid with letters (some blank) using chalk. Hop to spell words and choose a word to define and use in a sentence. ABC hopscotch combines physical activity with language learning which is perfect for children who learn best when on the go. 

16. Science diorama 

Select a science topic from a book, such as ecosystems or the solar system and have your child create a diorama to represent the subject. Encourage them to head outside and collect leaves, twigs or other objects they can incorporate into their diorama. This hands-on approach will help reinforce their understanding of the topic. Best of all, it makes learning science an interactive adventure! 

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17. Storytelling charades 

Act out scenes or characters from a book your child is reading and challenge them to guess the book and chapter. Then once you’ve demonstrated the game, switch and let them have a go. This activity enhances comprehension and critical thinking. 

So, there you have it, hands-on learning is an exciting and effective way to motivate your child as they pick up important skills. Plus it makes teaching enjoyable for you, too! Try these 17 creative activities that not only make learning fun but also reinforce important educational concepts. Get your creative hats on and set off on a hands-on learning adventure with your child today. The benefits are boundless and the journey promises to be a memorable one.  

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