Research shows that having fun while learning has the ability to create a mental correlation between reward and pleasure with learning, to strengthen and broaden memory networks, and to allow the brain to toggle between two basic neural modes – one used for diffused mind-wandering and the other for focused attention.
However, according to a report published in Psychology Today, once the fun stops, the learning is not too far behind.
More and more teachers, educators and curriculum directors at public and private schools are exploring ways to incorporate more fun into their educational programming, understanding that a “fun classroom” is typically a productive learning environment.
Here Are 4 Ways to Use Prizes and Reward to Support a Fun Classroom
Establishing a commitment to having fun in the classroom is more than just entertaining the children and lightening the mood. Based on the findings of the study linked above, it’s all about education itself. If students and their teachers incorporate the joys of childhood into what might otherwise be considered a taxing, trying experience, they will embrace the challenges put before them and become more engaged in the subject matter.
For children who have grown up on video games and immersive experiences that “gamify” their each and every endeavor, matching curriculum to the satisfaction of earning prizes and rewards just might be the “secret sauce” to keeping children invested in their own education.
Teachers and districts might consider these and other ways to use prizes to promote more fun — and therefore, more learning — in their classrooms:
Award younger students with stickers and allow them to put them on a chart or poster displayed prominently in the classroom for all to see. Let each child choose a prize from the treasure box once they’ve earned a certain number of stickers. This two-pronged methodology supports both immediate gratification and long-term objective planning.
Allow students to earn stars for good behavior. Once they’ve earned enough stars, give them a bigger, more significant prize. (Just wait and see how quickly other students fall in line!)
Take a cue from coffee shops and sandwich restaurants: issue punch cards that reward “loyalty” to learning. For each learning achievement “unlocked,” the student earns a hole punch on the card. Once the card is full, allow the student to pick a prize from a prize box, such as a treasure chest or something similar.
Issue random raffle tickets to children who meet certain established learning objectives. Then draw names at the end of the day or week for the chance to earn fun classroom prizes.
All of these ideas to create a fun classroom incorporates strategies that children will be used to, even if they don’t consciously realize it. By allowing children to “unlock” immediate rewards and then “level up” as achievements are amassed, they will be following a path they have been accustomed to following in other platforms, like video games and social media that they already associate with fun and self-satisfaction.
Where to Find Fun and Games for the Classroom
Want to create more fun in the classroom, and don't know where to start? Check out the GEDDES catalog of novelty toys for a fun classroom here.
At GEDDES, we have more than just school supplies, because we know that learning is about more than just text books, test scores, and preparing for standardized testing. We have a large selection of fun games, prizes, rewards and unique knick-knacks that students absolutely adore.
Our novelty toys and games for students are a fun fit for recess or classroom activities. They are also the perfect prizes to challenge your students with puzzles that will reward them with the entertainment and mental stimulation that the Psychology Today study demonstrates is critical to effective learning.
Don’t have your own prize box? Our complete selection of Treasure boxes like this Treasure Chest here provides perfect options for storing a variety of Geddes goodies for your new gaming planning. Kids will love learning and love earning — competing for, and winning, the chance to pick out their own prizes!
Check out our vast array of prizes and rewards to plan your fun classroom at GEDDES.