How to motivate kids through playfulness? Motivating children in the classroom can be a challenge. Each child has different interests, emotions, desires, triggers, and energy levels. What works for one may not work for all. Each day comes with its emotional ebb and flow. Luckily, there are multiple techniques that aid teachers who find themselves in need of some classroom management tips. One of these tips is to become a more playful teacher. This article highlights what it means to become a more playful teacher and how it can be beneficial to cultivate in any atmosphere with children.
The Importance of Playful Thinking
Let’s try not to confuse playfulness with playing: playing is an activity, while playfulness is an attitude. Playfulness is set in the principles of exploration through imagination and creativity. It’s about creating new experiences with new approaches using new ideas. Playfulness is at the root of all inventions. Playfulness also forms the space for positive failure within the learning environment. Any time teachers and guardians utilize playful thinking, they create a system of intrinsic motivation. This develops scholarly creativity and develops self-motivated learners of the future.
As a teacher of any level, one thing can be guaranteed — your students appreciate playtime. This alludes to the ‘playfulness playtime’ we mentioned before. Not only the playtime with blocks and toys. All do-it-yourself incentives are approached with curiosity and a fundamental urge to grow through application. Kindergarteners would rather learn math by counting blocks of different colors and shapes over studying from a page. Teenagers who use creative outlets geared toward their goals for learning develop better brain acuity and remain interested. Even adults benefit significantly from playful thinking. In a well-documented study, Patrick Bateson outlines the importance of playfulness for adult development. The remaining task is simply to adopt the playfulness attitude as a teacher, parent, and life-long leader.
How to Motivate Kids Through Playfulness
Before passing down these mindful traits to future leaders, today’s leaders can try to uphold them first. That’s where the teachers and parents come in. Of course, most teachers must follow a predeveloped curriculum of some sort. However, elements of playfulness can be contrived for each lesson. Moreover, an attitude of goofiness and lightheartedness lessons the criticality of any task. This is another core value of playfulness.
Listed are some of the best techniques on how to motivate kids through playfulness:
- Adopt a Humorous Attitude. This technique works exceptionally well with younger children. Act as if the assignments at hand are but a cinch. Pass them off as fun rather than as work. Be a little dramatic about things. Use this giddiness to break down the mental friction in the learning process that is overly concerned with correctness. Take it all with a grain of salt!
- Provide a Choice. Give students a few options for assignments or how to approach them. Whether it’s independent reading over group reading or choosing a topic for a writing project, choices get students involved in their learning process. A good idea is to create random mundane habits within the home or classroom, like picking a task from a hat. Even better if teachers involve themselves in the program as well!
- Encourage Risks. One trick is to create tasks or assignments which focus on the process instead of the outcome. If you’re with kids at home, add an unusual rule to the completion of a chore. Maybe enforce a one-handed clean-up, or offer a special snack to the fastest one to eat their vegetables (while taking their time to chew!) We can do the same in the classroom. Remember to rely on the creativity of yourself and your students as well.
- Provide Feedback. This is an essential part of using playfulness to motivate — provide feedback that promotes flexibility. Not only does this force you to remain on the same level playing field as your students, but it also supports overall accountability for your students’ progress. Aside from personal feedback, getting the class involved with constructive feedback will unify and reprimand the process of each in light of the whole. The creative process is always the center of the focus.