As a grandma, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as watching my grandchildren grow and learn.
One of the greatest gifts I can give them is a love of learning, which can set them up for success throughout their lives. Luckily, there are plenty of fun and engaging ways that I can encourage their natural curiosity and help them develop a passion for knowledge.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to encourage my grandchild’s love for learning. I hope they help you, too!
1. Turn Everyday Activities into Learning Opportunities
Grandma knows that life is full of learning opportunities, even when we’re not sitting in a classroom. Turn those trips to the grocery store into a math lesson by having our grandkids help us count out the items we need. Then, we can make baking cookies into a science experiment by talking about how the ingredients react to one another. Who knew learning could be so tasty?
As grandmas, we have a wealth of life experience and knowledge to share, so let’s do just that! If you’re a history buff, take your grandchild to a museum and share some fun facts. If you love reading, read with your grandchild and discuss what you learned. Grandmas can even teach new skills, like knitting or gardening. Sharing what we love can inspire a love of learning in them, too!
3. Play Games That Teach
Who says learning can’t be fun? Let’s play games that teach! There are so many board games and puzzles out there that can help with critical thinking, problem-solving, and vocabulary. And if we can’t find a game that fits the bill, we can always make up our own. Who knows, maybe we’ll come up with the next big thing!
- Scrabble – A classic word game where players use their vocabulary and spelling skills to create words from letter tiles.
- Apples to Apples – A fun and engaging game that encourages creative thinking and expands players’ vocabulary with new words.
- Settlers of Catan – A strategic board game that challenges players to think critically, manage resources, and strategize to win the game.
- Blokus – A spatial reasoning game that challenges players to think about shapes, colors, and patterns to place their pieces on the board.
- Ticket to Ride – A game that helps players to build their geographical knowledge by competing to complete train routes across different locations.
- Sequence – A game that challenges players to build patterns and sequences while also honing their problem-solving skills.
- Trivial Pursuit – A trivia game that tests players’ general knowledge and memory by asking questions across a range of categories.
- Boggle – A fast-paced game that challenges players to find as many words as they can from a jumbled grid of letters within a set amount of time.
- Qwirkle – A game that challenges players to build patterns and sequences using different shapes and colors, helping to build their spatial reasoning skills.
- Codenames – A game that challenges players’ communication and language skills as they try to associate one-word clues with different words on the board.
Playing educational board games with a grandchild not only creates a fun bonding experience but also helps to sharpen their cognitive abilities, enhance their critical thinking skills, and improve their language and vocabulary skills.
4. Encourage Curiosity and Questioning
Grandma knows that kids are full of questions, and that’s a good thing! Let’s encourage their curiosity by answering their questions and asking some of our own. We can even look up the answers together and learn something new. Who knows, we might even discover something that surprises us both!
5. Celebrate Achievements and Milestones
When our grandkids do well in school or achieve something they’ve been working hard for, let’s celebrate! Grandma can make a big fuss and show them how proud we are of them. This positive reinforcement can help them develop a love of learning and a desire to achieve more.
6. Explore the Outdoors
Grandma knows that sometimes the best way to learn is by exploring the great outdoors! Let’s take our grandkids on a nature walk and teach them about the plants and animals we see. We can even do some birdwatching and try to identify the different species we come across. Learning can be an adventure!
7. Make Learning Personal
Every child is unique, with their own interests and learning styles, so, let’s make learning personal for them. If they’re interested in music, take them to a concert or teach them to play an instrument. If they’re into sports, watch a game together and talk about the rules. Personalizing learning can make it more engaging and meaningful for them (and it gives you a little one-on-one time together).
8. Read, Read, Read
Reading with our grandkids is a fun way to build vocabulary and comprehension skills. Make it even more exciting by doing silly voices for the characters, acting out the story, or even creating books together.
9. Visit Museums and Exhibitions
Plan a visit to a museum or exhibition that matches her grandchild’s interests, whether it’s science, history, art, or culture. These outings can create opportunities to learn and explore together and may spark new ideas and interests. (If you need a unique gift idea, consider gifting your child with a membership to a local museum!)
10. Use Technology to Learn
Technology offers endless possibilities to learn in new and innovative ways. Introduce your grandchild to educational apps, online courses, or educational videos that encourage them to explore different subjects in a fun and interactive way. A few of my favorites include:
- Khan Academy Kids – This free educational app offers a variety of activities, videos, and games to teach young children reading, writing, and math skills.
- PBS Kids – The PBS Kids website offers free educational games and activities based on popular children’s shows like Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
- ABCmouse – ABCmouse is a paid subscription-based learning app that offers a comprehensive curriculum for children aged 2-8, covering subjects such as math, reading, and science.
- National Geographic Kids – This website offers educational videos, articles, and quizzes to teach children about science, nature, and animals.
- Duolingo – Duolingo is a free language learning app that offers fun and engaging lessons in a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, and German.
- BrainPOP – BrainPOP offers educational videos, games, and quizzes covering a variety of subjects, including science, social studies, and English.
- Scratch – Scratch is a free coding website for kids where they can create their own games and animations using block coding.
- Prodigy – Prodigy is a free math game that helps children build math skills through engaging gameplay and quizzes.
- NASA Kids Club – The NASA Kids Club website offers educational games and activities to teach children about space, science, and technology.
- Ted-Ed – Ted-Ed offers free educational videos and lessons that cover a wide range of subjects, including history, science, and literature.
11. Volunteer Together
As a grandma, I love to volunteer with my grandchild at a local organization or charity. Not only does volunteering help to build empathy, compassion, and a sense of community, but it also provides a meaningful experience that fosters social and emotional growth in my grandchild. By volunteering together, we can help our grandkids develop a sense of purpose and instill in them the values of kindness, generosity, and social responsibility. It’s also a great opportunity to spend quality time together while making a positive impact in our community.
It’s important to foster a love of learning in our grandkids by providing them with fun and engaging opportunities to explore new subjects and develop important skills. From playing educational games and exploring the outdoors to using online learning apps and volunteering together, there are so many ways we can help our grandkids become lifelong learners. What are you waiting for – let’s get out there and have some fun while building important skills and knowledge together!