As educators, we know that engaging students in meaningful and enjoyable activities is key to fostering a positive and productive learning environment. But sometimes, it can be a challenge to come up with a fun classroom activity that is both educational and engaging.
In this blog post, I have eight tips and ideas for making your classroom activities more fun and engaging for students. From incorporating hands-on elements and games to encouraging creativity and collaboration, these strategies can help you make the most of your lesson plans and keep your students motivated and engaged.
So whether you’re looking for ways to spice up your current lesson plans or trying something totally new, I hope you’ll find something useful in this post.
Ways To Make a Classroom Activity More Fun
Several factors can make a classroom activity fun and engaging for students. Here is a list of eight ways to make a classroom activity more fun, alongside a few favorite resources.
Activities that are connected to students’ interests, experiences, or real-world situations are more likely to be engaging. Regular readers of the blog know that I love to make connections to ways students can create authentic artifacts. This episode of the Easy EdTech Podcast includes a handful of project ideas inspired by how content creators share on social media.
Although I loved having routines as a classroom teacher, there is certainly something to say about the novelty of “mixing it up.” You may want to try a variation of an activity, and incorporating different modalities (e.g., hands-on, visual, auditory) can keep students’ attention and interest. For example, if you often use an interactive presentation tool like Lumio, you may want to incorporate an activity you haven’t tried before, like a “Shout it Out” or collaborative option.
Activities that are appropriately challenging and provide students with opportunities to learn and grow can be rewarding and engaging. In this recent episode of the Easy EdTech Podcast, I chatted with Peg Grafwallner about productive struggle. It was interesting to hear her perspective on the importance of providing challenges to students.
Allowing students to work together and contribute their own ideas and perspectives can foster a sense of community and make the activity more enjoyable. Many tools have built-in collaborative features that make it easy for students to share a digital space. Book Creator is one tool that gives students the ability to collaborate on a creative project. You might also want to check out the Hands-On STEM Activities from 3M and Discovery Education. They are designed to inspire the problem-solver in every student. And you’l find easy-to-implement activities that inspire students to tackle real-world challenges.
Encouraging students to express their creativity and think outside the box can make activities more engaging and enjoyable. You might introduce students to a creative activity that sets them up for success with a template. The team at Adobe for Education has created lots of engaging lessons for students. These include free templates you can use as is or adapt for your group of students. Here is a link to a recent blog post about their mid-year check-in template.
Providing positive feedback and recognizing students’ efforts and achievements can boost their motivation and engagement. I’ve featured Hāpara a few times on the blog. You might remember this blog post on “5 Ways To Create a Positive Classroom Culture With Hāpara.” Positive feedback can definitely help make a classroom activity more fun and engaging for students.
Establish an Audience
Helping students see the value and purpose of the activity and allowing them to experience a sense of accomplishment can increase their engagement. If you’ve read my book EdTech Essentials: The Top 10 Technology Strategies for All Learning Environments, you know how much value I place on establishing an audience for students. Let students know from the beginning of a project or activity who will see and celebrate their accomplishments. Something simple, like having all students post a project update on Padlet or Seesaw, is a great way to establish an audience.
Note: Download the free study guide for EdTech Essentials on this page.
Incorporating fun elements, such as humor or games, can make activities more engaging and enjoyable for students. I love sharing educational games on the blog, and you might remember this post featuring Duolingo ABC. Games help reinforce key concepts and allow students to have lots of fun simultaneously.
In conclusion, there are many ways to make a classroom activity more fun and engaging for students. By incorporating elements of relevance, variety, challenge, collaboration, creativity, positive feedback, and a sense of accomplishment, and even using games, you can create activities that are both educational and enjoyable for your students.
Keep in mind that every class and group of students is different. So it’s essential to be flexible and willing to try out different approaches to see what works best for your students. By continuously experimenting and refining your approach, you can create an academically rigorous and engaging classroom environment for your students.
Note: This blog post was written with some help from ChatGPT for inspiration and assistance with the writing process. This tool has been in the news, and I’m trying it out to learn more about it and the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education.