How to Use Prizes to Encourage Students to Learn More Effectively

The concept of “gamification” is becoming increasingly adopted and recognized—from the boardroom and Silicon Valley to the classroom and your neighborhood school. What everyone from business professionals and app developers to educators and curriculum directors is discovering is that gamification encourages participation and improves outcomes.

While some students may resist rigorous learning assignments, nearly everyone loves a good game. In the gaming world, the player is challenged with obstacles to overcome, earns rewards for doing so, and tracks progress and achievement, all of which encourage participation and increase participant engagement. Learning is no different.


How Using Prizes Encourages Students to Learn

What’s universal to nearly all students, regardless of learning style, is that they like to get prizes. Whether it’s a cookie for good behavior or a sticker or star on a project for a job well done, children love rewards.

The power of positive reinforcement is not only that it serves as a tool to reward achievement, it’s that it predisposes the student to want to face and overcome the next learning challenge as well. Learning starts to feel less like a task and more like a game, with prizes, awards, and even a scoreboard.

We all know how “addicting” games and devices can be for children. The same principles can be applied to education. While school may never replace video games, they can at least mimic what makes them so captivating for young minds.


4 Ways to Use Prizes to “Gamify” Your Learning

According to the results of a study at the University of Chicago, prizes like stickers, extra playtime, or a small toy to encourage learning are effective incentives to help kids learn, as well as to recognize and aspire to positive learning behaviors. In fact, students were also more likely to repeat those behaviors once rewarded, even after the rewards ended.

While there are many ways teachers can use gaming conventions like prizes, “levels” and scores to reward learning achievement, here are four ways teachers can implement a rewards system into their curriculum this school year:


  1. Award students stickers for specified achievements and allow them to put them on a chart or poster displayed in class for all to see. Once a “level” has been achieved (say, the number of stickers earned), the student is allowed to choose a toy from a treasure chest.

  2. Similarly, allow students to earn stars for reaching learning milestones. Once they’ve accumulated a certain number of stars, they receive a larger reward.

  3. Take a cue from coffee shops and sandwich restaurants: issue punch cards. For each learning achievement “unlocked,” the student earns a hole punch on the card. When the card is full, the student gets to pick a prize from the prize box.

  4. Issue random raffle tickets to children who meet learning objectives. Then draw names at the end of the day or week for fun prizes.


Games and Prizes Preschoolers Will Love to Play and Earn

Your children love Dr. Seuss just as much as we did growing up! Here are our officially licensed Dr. Seuss school supplies you can incorporate into your learning games and prizes. Some of our most popular Dr. Seuss school supplies include fidget putty, colorful 3D character pens, felt fine tip markers, and crayon erasers.

Don’t have your own prize box? Our Treasure Chest Box  is perfect for storing a variety of Geddes goodies for your preschool class. Kids will love earning the chance to pick out their own prizes!

Our novelty toys are the perfect prizes for your preschoolers who learn and earn. Check out our vast array of prizes and rewards at GEDDES.