Wednesday, 25 September 2013

a-MAZE-ing Kids

I've yet to meet a family who didn't have kids that were polar opposites of each other. One is an avid reader, does really well at school and just gets it. The other doesn't get it, takes a lot longer to learn and grasp the ideas than the others and reading is like a chore, rather than a pleasure.

This is life, everyone is different, we all learn at our own pace and in our own ways. And frankly, some people just don't like reading for's not fun for them. Weird I know!

Struggling child at school homework
Image courtesy of Surachai /
I won't jump on my high horse today and ramble on about the importance of NOT comparing them, and making sure you don't call them names that reflect their ability, or inability. Don't refer to them as the one who's good at school and the one who's not good at school.

But I will focus on reinforcing what they are good at instead! And some activities that those who aren't so great in the classroom might really enjoy. And I mean REALLY enjoy!

Mazes, puzzles and games!

There's all the talk out there about left-brain, right-brain, creatives and intellectuals and frankly I struggle to remember which is which. But for those kids who are more tactile learners, who really find visual and hands on activities more engaging, mazes, puzzles and games can be a brilliant way to educate while having fun.


Come in all shapes and sizes. Paper ones, 3D real life ones you can walk through, mirror mazes at the circus, trying to find your way through a shopping centre, directing your family trip through a new town on a map. They are everywhere. But they really encourage problem solving, thinking ahead and quick response.


Again, come in all shapes and sizes, pictures, photographs, getting the ball in the hole, the shape in the right section, rubik's cube, moving pieces to pull apart, lego, building blocks, beading to make patterns, cross stitch...all require putting pieces together to make something. Some have readable instructions, others are mind benders, but they are all stretching the imagination and encouraging those little brains to get stimulated.

Puzzles key to unlocking learning in struggling students
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /


So games is a bit generic, but think Board Games like scrabble, pictionary, trivial pursuit, operation, uno, bingo, snakes & ladders, tic tac toe, connect 4, battleship...all those games you used to love! And then think family games you can play together like charades, hang-man, celebrity heads. All of these games have elements on learning in them, but are more engaging than sitting reading the times table chart or memorising spelling words. They have elements of reading, increasing vocabulary, numbers and maths, counting, spelling and general life skills like competition and sportsmanship.

So when you're out getting books for your little bookworms, be sure to grab some puzzles, games and mazes for your little creative mind too, or look for them in the papers or magazines, borrow from a friend. Start a game / toy swap with your close knit friends so you've always got new games and puzzles to play with the kids but don't have to spend a cent! Christmas is coming soon too, so keep them in mind for presents!

The quality family time, plus the added learning might just be the key to see your little bud really blossom.

Happy Learning!

P.S. Did you know we've got a few other posts about board games, and other fun learning ideas? Sign up to the email list here to get your regular dose of Learning that's Fun.

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