When it comes to learning something new, would you rather watch a movie, read a book, or hear someone give a lecture about it? The answer you choose says a lot about your learning style. We all learn in different ways, but one of the most important ways for kids to learn and practice skills is hands-on learning. This concept is also known as “experiential learning” because kids need to experience things as they learn. In other words, they learn by doing.
Scientists and psychologists have been studying child development for hundreds of years, and they’ve been studying learning styles since the 1960s. One of their findings says that students who aren’t able to participate in their education or have any control over it have low motivation to learn. That’s what makes hands-on learning so great—children are participating in their education in a tangible way!
1. Hands-on Learning Aids Retention
Experiential learning engages both sides of the brain. Because of this, the brain is able to make better connections and store more information. Plus, the experience of hands-on learning is often memorable on its own. Consider how much more a child can retain if they’re dissecting a frog versus reading about it in a textbook.
2. Hands-on Learning Keeps Kids’ Attention
Hands-on learning is fun! It involves several styles of learning all at once: visual, kinesthetic, auditory, and more. Kids are encouraged to make decisions, control the project, and see what inspires them. With hands-on learning, kids are in the driver’s seat!
3. Kids Can Experiment Through Hands-on Learning
Because hands-on learning leaves the decisions up to the children, they’re allowed to experiment and think deeply. They take risks and learn through trial and error. This develops a kind of critical thinking that’s a necessary skill for whichever profession they choose later in life. Instead of assuming there’s one right way and one wrong way to do things, they’ll see that there’s a multitude of options and outcomes in every challenge.
4. Hands-on Learning Promotes Problem Solving
So, what if children experiment during a project and things go terribly wrong? With experiential learning, that’s all part of the process! Because it’s child-led, the children decide what comes next. How can they solve the problem? How will they have to adjust their expectations? How will they overcome setbacks? Child development experts say problem solving is one of the most important skills a child can learn!
5. Hands-on Learning Produces Interesting Work
Everybody likes to have something to show after a hard day’s work. Children are no different than adults! Hands-on learning projects allow children to have something to show for all of the work they put in. It’s more than just a series of pages in a notebook or a multiple-choice test. They have tangible results to look at, to show their family and friends. This is just one more way hands-on learning encourages kids to take ownership of their learning and be proud of what they accomplish!
No matter the age of your children, they can benefit from hands-on learning opportunities at home. Here are just a few ideas for children of all ages!
All Ages: Subscribe to Kids Art Box
When you subscribe to Kids Art Box, you’ll get hands-on art projects delivered to your door every month. Every art box includes easy-to-follow tutorials and all of the supplies you’ll need to complete the projects.
The Create Together Art Box, designed for kids ages 3-7, provides a meaningful way for you to engage in experiential learning alongside your child. Every project is child-led, but you’re right there to encourage and guide your child. There are three art activities, one science project, and one visual recipe or origami tutorial in each box. Your children will love the hands-on art supplies—glitter, sand, gems, ribbon, and beads are just a few of the creative materials!
For older children, ages 6-12, order the My Artist Box. They’ll get instructions and supplies for four art projects inspired by the artist of the month. Plus, there’s several pages of educational material in each box. It’s the perfect opportunity for kids to express their creative side, learn new techniques, and practice their artistic skills.