In a world where writing seems to have become the deciding factor on whether or not a child has retained information, adults are often putting pressure on children to write what they’ve learned. We often hear parents say “My kid hates writing,” but could it be that we are are asking them to write too much?
I am in no way saying writing isn’t important, it absolutely is. However, there are other ways to know if your child has understood what they are learning, without it being such a struggle for you both. Below are seven ways to get those creative juices flowing!
- They talk, you write– This works very well for younger children. In the same way that adults read chapter books to kids to encourage a love of reading, writing your child’s ideas and thoughts, then reading it back to them, reminds them of how important their thoughts are. They can then illustrate what you wrote, or some children might be so inspired that they’ll want to continue adding more to what you started for them!
- Build a model- Have a child that’s a fan of Lego? Get them to build a geographical landscape or an animal’s habitat and then ask them to explain it to you. If you have a child who likes to collect outdoor materials (rocks, leaves, etc), you can have them build a scene using things found outside, and incorporate Play-Doh or clay for characters. My kids recently made this Play-Doh model of the earth and its layers, and they remember all of the facts they learned just by building it!
- Make up a fun song- We start our learning journey with nursery rhymes and the abc song, but growing older shouldn’t mean the educational tunes should stop. If your child is a fan of singing/rapping, come up with a song about what they’re learning together, or let them surprise you with one. You can also find some great ones on the internet like this fun pronouns rap, and who doesn’t love a good states song?
- Present as a journalist or their favorite TV character- For kids that love to act, cut a frame out of cardboard and let them know you’re excited to watch their new story on the subject they’re learning. Have Batman tell the family why it’s important to recycle! This is also a great way to get children to practice their public speaking skills. If your child is older, they could make a Google slideshow to present to everyone.
- Make a stop motion video– Stop Motion is a free app and once your child gets the hang of it, they can start making their own videos on any topics. For 99 cents, you can add audio to your videos too!
- Build in Minecraft- If your child is a fan of this popular video game, they can use it to replicate landmarks and wonders of the world. There is more information on the Minecraft website here.
- Paint/draw- This article by Misty Adoniou, a Senior Lecturer in Language, Literature and TESL at the University of Canberra, is a must read for all parents, and includes important reminders such as, “Drawing what you have understood from a reading passage, drawing the science experiment you have just done or drawing the detail of an autumn leaf are all examples of engaging with the same learning from a different angle.” From sketches and watercolor paintings, to comic books, artwork opens so many doors when it comes to learning.
Do you have any fun ways to know if your child has understood a topic other than writing? Share them with us in the comments!