This giveaway is now closed.
This month’s 30th anniversary giveaway will provide one lucky winner with 8 unique, engaging games and books perfect for road trips, camping, rainy days, and beating the stay-at-home blues:
- A Gebra Named Al
- Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change
- Trivia for Tots In a Jar®
- Think Fast In a Jar®
- Story Starters In a Jar®
- Riddles In a Jar®
- Guy Talk In a Jar®
- Girl Talk In a Jar®
How to Enter: This giveaway is now closed. Leave a comment below telling us how you make learning fun for kids.
For additional entries, complete the following tasks and leave a separate comment below for each:
Each comment counts as a separate entry—that’s three chances to win! Entries must be received by midnight July 26, 2013. This giveaway is now closed.
The winner will be contacted via email by July 30, 2013, and will need to respond within 72 hours to claim his or her prize or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Winner must be a U.S. resident, 18 years of age or older.
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.
© 2013 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved.
I am always relieved to see that other school counselors and social workers are using games and play as a natural and fun way to engage kids and build relationships, reduce the tension of an initial session and address barriers to school and personal success. I do it all day long in my school counseling work. It often takes parents and some teachers by surprise, annoying some who might see play as a reward or avoiding dealing with the “real problem.” I try to explain that these methods are thought out, directed and useful for both informal assessment and interventions. I use the Worry Monster game& Go Away Monsters to help little ones with anxiety and fears. They love the finger puppets.I find great ideas on the wonderful blogs out there and am using the “Emotions” app to help little ones recognize and label feelings. It is simple and the kids love the faces, laughing and making their own faces in response.
Teaching kids is priceless, because I’m impacting the next generation. I use stories, local folk tales to contextualize the learning of English
Kids like to feel like they are in control, so first always give them choices on what to play! Be sure to incorporate learning strategies and social conversation into the time with them so that they are unaware that this is a learning time and think that it is all fun! Never say let’s talks about this and then play a game. I love how much more kids will engage in personal talk when they think they are “just playing”! But always have a lesson in mind ie. sportsmanship or turn taking before starting and reinforce that throughout play time. Set a timer and a goal for kids to feel success at the end ie. piece of candy if this happens, and always let the little ones win;)
I try to make learning fun with games and other activities. I love watching kids learn when they don’t know they are learning!
I use various tricks of the trade in my counseling sessions. Conversation starter cards really get the students engaged.
I use all kinds of games and activities. The children like to make up there own rules to games we have played. Games are a great way to learn 21st century skills, such as making decisions, problem-solving, working with others, managing resources, speaking and listening skills.
We make learning fun by NOT mentioning that the activity we are doing is actually educational. Whether it be a movie, a game, or just family discussions on long road trips, I do my best to utilize every moment as a critical thinking opportunity for my children.
We use lots of games at my house for “tricking” my children into learning. We just played Appleletters with my beginning reader and Bananagrams with our older daughter. Also, just a good old fashioned round of Candyland is a very important tool in learning to be a good loser or winner – such important life skills! We also try to take advantage of every free opportunity at our library and build on that. For example, we went to events on Monarchs and pyramids this summer and did more reading and craft projects on those topics.
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I make learning fun for my students by engaging them in various classroom guidance activities. We cover different topics in guidance classes such as: character traits, conflict resolution, getting along with others, etc. I involve the students by allowing them to come up with rules to follow for each exercise or activity daily.
I try to make learning fun for kids by reading the books they recommend, and then discussing the books with them. This is enjoyable for them, and for me as well.
I shared on facebook 🙂
I like to make learning fun by making it as interactive as possible. If I need to set them up in partners, then I have them make different animal sounds as they look for the person with the corresponding card. I enjoy sharing books with them where they can later take turns playing characters in the story. I also like to have them form circles where we skip count and do exercises based on the multiplication facts. It would be great to win these! Good luck to all!
Nearly everything I teach connects to real world. Since I am older, I have had lots of life experiences. I love to tell stories. When students in Future Problem Solvers studied invasive species, they learned that I had brought a plant from one state to another and now have a tree in my yard that is considered invasive in the state I now live. They also learned that 20 some years ago I picked up star fish on the shore instead of retuning them to the ocean and i also walked on coral reef before I knew better! they are learning from my mistakes! I also like to create a problem and have them act out a solution using only certain items like Instant Challenges in Destination Imagination.
As a grandmother raising my grandchildren, I look for the children’s cues and jump on the teachable moments. I then involve in making a game out of the issue at hand. Sometimes, in the form of Jeopardy where I give answers and they give the ? This really gets them thinking and its fun.
Anyone with a musical ear will love being in my language and math classes. We dance and sing, rap and hand clap to remember our language constraints! The interactive whiteboard becomes a musical instrument or our background music. “I Have, Who Has” is always a favorite game to play and Mangahigh holds many opportunities for our learners interactively! Overall, my bright movers and shakers progress with flair!
I am a stay at home mom with 2 very active boys, ages 3 and 5. I am always looking for engaging and easy activities for the summer that don’t involve watching tv.
Life is filled with anecdotal opportunities, and my life no exception. I remain mindful to take notice, adapting my anecdotes and “stories” (as my students like to call them) to the lesson at hand. By explaining how the “story” relates to the lesson (and vice versa), I show my students how and what I learned as a result. Then I ask questions that give students a chance to discuss their own personal experiences with the lesson at hand. The “in a Jar” products are fantastic stepping stones to this creative process and my students love the pop-questions and thoughts. It really sparks their imaginations – and mine too!
I shared on Facebook 🙂
I make learning fun for kids by acting like a kid myself. We like to act things out and do Reader’s Theater.
I try and find off beat little known “Holiday” like National Cow Appreciation day and make a theme day surrounding that day. I decorate the house with posters or things that reflect the theme. Each day incorperates some science with experiments(Like cow magnets and magnetic force and how farmers use these magnets to keep the cows healthy) Math problems using cows as examples and using fractions as we make cookies in cow shapes. Art work with a cow theme and reading books with cows as the main subject and of course imagination as we create our own stories such as “If you were a cow what would your life be like?” I included fun facts about cows and printed them on cow shapes which I placed all around the house for my granddaughter to find and games that have a cow theme.I think you get the picture. I try to engage all the senses and learning styles. She may not remember everything I teach her (She is 6) but if I have instilled a love of learning and the ability to think things through then I have succeeded.But for now I love when she says “Grandma I can’t wait for another theme day. in between theme day we do a lot of puzzles and board games that train as well as entertain in different subject matters and critial thinking skills
I do a lot of role playing in my sessions with children. We act things out and use different voices and props to make it fun. Sometimes it’s easier to discuss hard things when you’re not yourself. Ex- ill pretend to be a newspaper reporter interviewing someone who… And the students are able to open up. Books and game from freespirit help me be creative! Thanks
Omg I’m terrible with kids but I’m constantly stuck babysitting my nephew and I never know how to entertain him! These things seem like a good idea to keep me from going nuts
I encourage my children and students to do as much exploring/learning as possible outdoors – with water, dirt, nature, etc., and then to research their questions in books.
I teach Spanish to preschoolers & early elementary kids. I make it fun with lots of music, puppets, physical activity, & literature they know in English. We applaud & laugh a good bit too. I also use specific positive encouragement & praise for effort as well as accomplishment. I use their individual names in every class because it means so much to them to be individually acknowledged! Finally, I use ASL to allow even my pre-verbal students to participate actively. They treat me like a preschool rock star, so I must be doing something right!
I think it is so important that young children learn in what is their natural modality- play! Teaching through the use of songs, stories, games, and puppets helps me to keep them interested in the lesson while having fun. I try to also do this with my own children; we love to play the category game in which you have to name something starting with the same letter that ended the last turn. For example, we will play thinking of different animals, so one person may say “cheetah”, then the next “horse”, then “elephant”. It’s a great vocabulary builder!
Kids are intelligent and to make learning fun, one must be real, alive, and interact with the child or student. Interaction and showing kids you care go a long way with helping them learn and grow their self esteem.
we love to investigate the things that are brought up to us. We make math into a fun game. The real name of the game is to just keep it fun and interesting.
As a counselor, we use these activities at our new student luncheons as an easy and fun way for students to get to know each other.
I love to have my kids play games. I create Jeopardy with all of my math concepts and the kids love the movement, team building, and competition.
I use soft photo cubes with the kids that have their pictures in them to assign their jobs for the day. They eAch get a chance to roll to see who does what jobs.
I try to incorporate real life applications and items/characters/people that kids are familiar with and that they are into. Very often a lesson becomes much more fun and interesting if Elmo or Edward Cullen is a part of the story
I incorporate real life application and try to get as much interaction as I can.
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Fabulous giveaway! My secret is to find out what each child is really passionate about, whether is science or dancing. Then, I introduce learning games and activities based on those passions. Works every time!
I think it is extremely important to make learning fun- this way the children are more likely to remember the lesson that you are teaching. As a counselor, I try to make sure that I incorporate all of the learning styles into my lessons. I also try to incorporate technology into my lessons. I have found the children really have fun with stories, group work, role-playing, games, singing, puppets, etc. I have found that students from years past still remember certain lessons.
I try and inspire creativity through lots of outdoor activities – swimming, running, biking – that then translate to story ideas and games and art projects
I have kids lead the way, we run with their ideas and we work collaboratively.
At times I’ve been able to find a relate-able tale told by a favorite clean comedian to use as an illustration expressing how someone else has been through the same situation as one of “my kids,” and made it successfully to the other side. I like to use comedians because they offer the funny slice of life, often providing some necessary comic relief!
In our school library, we welcome students and staff, share stories and poems through read-alouds, puppets, traditional storytelling, flannel boards, etc., sing songs, share poems, encourage the use of online databases available to us through our participation in the MDK-12 Digital Library and the use of games and puzzles. We have lots of fun, all in the hope of creating life-long readers and learners.
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I try to find activities that are hands on and engaging so the learning is more intrinsic.
I love my Free Spirit jars. I use them to introduce lessons, as bell ringers, and my students INSIST upon being intrigued and inspired by the Leadership quotes in a jar. They sit on my white board tray and are used everyday.
I try to funny anything funny in the things we do. When we can find humor in it, learning becomes more memorable.
Shared on Facebook.
I make learning fun for kids by incorporating their personal interests!
I do things with them they love the time we spend together
I make learning fun for students by incorporating technology and current events/music, so it has relevancy to them.
I love Montessori activities which my daughter loves. I also love learning games and ones where I can interact with her. We are also big readers and love to read several books before bed!
I start with a song, then we shake our bodies for a few minutes and the journey of learning begin with the amazing materials I have in my collection from Free Spirit Publishing! Thanks!
Oh My Gosh! I have been using your products for the last 7 years when counseling with child victims of domestic or sexual violence. I can’t even begin to tell you how using them helps kids to open up and talk about their feelings. I also use your products when doing prevention work to add a fun twist to the curricula I use. Thanks so much! Keep up the good work!
It all starts with “Mommy, how do they do that?” or “What is a ….”. When we investigate the topics that they are curious about, it leads itself naturally to a fun learning experience.
I make learning fun for the kids by learning about their interests outside of school first and tying these interests to our material. This builds a positive relationship between you and the student and also engages them!
We turn math into fun by doubling their favorite recipes! They don’t even know that they are learning about how to add fractions.
Working with children with trying behaviors in our summer feeding programs, Free Spirit has provided us with great tools.
I let the kids get messy… cornstarch and water inside, mud outside
Posted on Facebook. : )
I try to adapt the lessons to include things that my kids would be interested in.
I keep activities as active as possible with frequent check ins to make sure we are all focused on the same thing. Love having laughter during a lesson!
We put on plays, write math stories, make our own math board games, make obstacle courses requiring letter identification and math problems, and we read a lot.
I love having kids get up and move around. We do “live action” versions of seat work (anticipation guides for introducing new texts, etc.) which kids really like. Anything to get some energy out since they can get wiggly after sitting down most of the day!
I use a number of techniques in my counseling sessions with groups and individual students to make learning fun and thought provoking. One thing that I really enjoy is using board games and card games to teach the students decision making, playing fair, taking turns, learning patterns, following rules, acceptable bantering, and team communication, and this is just a few of the things games can teach. Young adults have gotten away from playing games with each other and their family, and who has a large group of kids at their home anymore. So a lot of the skills games can teach the kids, they don’t learn if the aren’t exposed to games and playing in a structured group. Teachers and parents usually are not able to grab that time they need to engage the kids with these simple life pleasures. Some of my favorite games that I use to increase social emotional learning are; Skip bo, Sequence for kids, Tic Tac Toe bingo, Chutes n Ladders, Candy Land, Game of Life (need a couple of sessions), and if you can still find it, Swipe (this little game is funny and action packed). I also use a lot of technology to encourage discussions, teach digital citizenship, and social pragmatics. One of my most used tech tools is Bitstrips comic maker. It is free for the first month you use it, but the fee is worth the price and you can suspend your subscription at any time. I also turn to common sense media for digital citizenship curriculum. I’m always finding more ways to engage my students. You can follow me at my blog and on twitter @socialworkpad.