Fort building kits are the perfect toy for developing a love of exploration and learning early in life. The love of learning cultivated at a young age prepares us for a lifetime of growth, development, and success. Surprisingly for many, this love stems from fun. Dr. William Glasser, a psychiatrist, claims that “fun is the genetic payoff for learning.” Fort building offers a perfect garden for planting, watering, nurturing and growing the seeds of this love of learning – through fun. Research explains that learning and long-term memory both require fun. In fact, Judy Willis, a neurologist and educator, states, that cognitive development is “more likely to occur in an atmosphere of ‘exuberant discovery,’ where students of all ages retain that kindergarten enthusiasm of embracing each day with the joy of learning.” Wow! What produces more opportunities for exuberant discovery than fort building?
Watch your children as their mental wheels turn while designing and constructing a fort. The excited sounds in their voices as they relay adventures to one another, or you, provide proof as well. The pattering of feet running to and fro, gathering supplies when a new idea strikes, offers more evidence. Fort building boosts discovery and fun. Furthermore, fun increases good chemicals and oxygen to the brain, fueling alertness and information retention. Isn’t this the definition of learning? But, this type of fun does not consist of chaos and pointless play. To breed a love of learning, activities need to be engaging, bring meaning, and prove to be challenging.
Learning requires repetition and dedication. Adults and children alike may find the drive to bear through this process. However, a better way exists. Experts agree that fun positively affects a learner’s motivation. And, motivation plays into what we learn and how much we remember. Think about it. The experiences that exude fun push us to be curious and encourage us to repeat the behaviors required for us to learn. We simply “get it” without a thought about how easy or hard the steps are to achieve the information. And, the same holds true for children. Fun drives them to learn!
When we send our children out to play, a bit of guilt may arise since we are not creating structured learning experiences. However, fort building banishes this guilt. Playing is not purely frivolous entertainment or silliness. It consists of loving the learning process. With fort building, a child’s natural curiosity peaks and adventures in problem-solving, creativity and understanding the world around him or her flourish. The process of construction and discovery has meaning and purpose, and so enhances learning.
Let’s consider how fun changes our behavior. A “Fun Theory” tested by Volkswagen recognized that, given a choice between stairs and an escalator, most people will choose an escalator to navigate between floors. For kids, this illustrates which one proves more fun. For adults, it is simply more convenient. Volkswagen added fun to the climb by painting Stockholm subway stairs as a giant functioning piano keyboard. The result? Sixty-six percent above the norm of the population chose the stairs. The conclusion? Fun transformed behavior! A Fort Magic kit offers just such an opportunity. The draw of fun motivates kids to learn without even thinking about it. From building the fort to playing in and around it, to re-imagining the fort, opportunities for learning elements of science, math, and engineering abound. This type of learning does not occur at a desk or with Internet interaction.
Fort building boosts learning by providing another component of fun: a challenge. Activities that prove too difficult merely frustrate children. And, endeavors that come easily quickly bore young minds. Experts find that fun becomes associated with “Goldilocks tasks” – not too easy and not too hard. Fort Magic kits bring the world of possibility before children. For younger learners, simple shapes and designs offer learning opportunities in counting, measurement, and estimation. Older children find the challenges of engineering and architecture. And, all ages learn vital problem-solving, interpersonal and fortitude skills.
Nurturing the love of learning through fun may prove too easy for parents. Just providing the space and materials to create and explore are all that is required. Offering a Fort Magic kit often sends the kids off and running with plenty of ideas fueling the fun and learning. Be sure to allow your children access to fort completing materials such as sheets, art supplies and more. Freedom for both the physical and the mental space applies. Whether it’s a part of the living room, a bedroom or the backyard, give your child room to make a mess in the design, construction and play phases. Then step back. Offering your child space to create and problem-solve without your interference boosts learning.
Safety issues, of course, need addressing, but the results of this freedom to create may just surprise you. The fun that ensues boasts learning not found in any other activity. Plus, it promotes and supports the age-old adage – learning is fun!
What awesome ideas do you have for creative forts ideas to teach learning? We’d love to hear your comments below! 🙂
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Hands On As We Grow Blog: A wonderful family blog that focuses on hands-on activities for parents and children to incorporate during learning and playtime.