Interactive learning is an educational approach based on kids’ active participation. Instead of a video or lecture, children learn by playing, collaborating with others, and exploring their environment. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of interactive learning in early childhood.
Experts recommend limiting screen time, especially during early childhood (0-8 years). That’s because screen time is a passive activity. It doesn’t give children opportunities to practice social skills, interact with their world, or be creative.
Technology can still support child development, though. Caregivers can use apps like Earlybird to discover fun interactive learning activities for early learners.
What is Interactive Learning?
Interactive learning is an effective educational approach based on children’s active participation. Rather than just watching a video or completing a coloring sheet, children learn by playing with toys and materials, collaborating with others, and/or exploring their environment.
Research shows that interactive learning is very effective in promoting school success and understanding concepts.
Passive or skills-based activities limit how much children can participate in play and learning. Generally, coloring sheets, flashcards, worksheets, apps, or watching tv and videos are not interactive learning activities. Still, there are always creative ways to make these activities playful and interactive.
The Earlybird app is a free resource with interactive, play-based activities for children 0 to 6. Throughout this post, discover how Earlybird can support children’s interactive learning at home or in the classroom.
Benefits of Interactive Learning
#1 Activities target multiple learning domains.
The learning domains in early childhood are physical, language, cognitive, and social-emotional development. Doing flashcards may help a child practice cognitive development, but playing in a sensory bin with a friend can help a child develop skills in all learning domains.
#2 Children can build relationships and social skills.
Children’s brains are wired from birth for social connections with other humans. That’s why cuddles soothe babies, and toddlers keep an eye on parents while exploring new places.
Adults play alongside children during new activities until children are ready to play independently. In classrooms or homes that promote interactive learning, children know they ask adults for help. This builds trust, collaboration, language, and community.
Older children learn to collaborate with peers during interactive learning. Kids miss out on this social skill development during passive or skills-based activities.
#3 Children can be more curious and creative.
Children are naturally curious and creative, but these skills take practice too. Since interactive activities are hands-on, children can explore materials, the environment, and their interests.
During interactive play, children play with materials in new ways, practice creative problem-solving, and act out their own ideas. Young children do not learn how to impact their world by watching a video.
#4 Interactive learning activities are adaptable.
Interactive learning activities can be adapted to the developmental level of the child. Children of different ages, abilities, and stages of play development can participate together. It is also easier for adults to scaffold children’s learning.
Puzzles or worksheets are skills-based activities designed for a specific skill level. Painting or storytime with puppets are flexible activities that can support diverse developmental levels.
On the Earlybird app, you can discover a new curated list of activities based on your child’s age and abilities.
#5 Children make real-world connections.
Interactive learning activities allow children to connect to and understand their world. Children learn much more about the world on a scavenger hunt or while playing dress up than they can from a tv show or a coloring sheet.
What are interactive learning materials?
Interactive learning materials include open-ended materials such as crayons and paint, sensory bins, baby dolls, animal figures, blocks, play kitchens, loose parts, and more. These materials are open-ended because children can use them in different, creative ways.
Close-ended materials are toys such as puzzles, shape sorters, and stackers. These materials are designed to be “completed.” Close-ended materials can still be interactive if a child uses them with a friend or an engaged adult.
Passive activities such as tv or videos can be educational, but kids are less likely to retain information. Educational apps can be interactive, but kids interact with buzzes and beeps on a screen, not with people or the world around them.
What are the disadvantages of interactive learning?
- It can be harder to assess a child’s knowledge or specific skill level.
- Interactive activities may take more time to prepare, supervise, and clean up.
Assessing Child Development
Child assessment may be simpler using a skill-based activity. Parents and teachers may prefer worksheets, flashcards, apps, or skills-based activities because they can quickly capture a child’s skill level.
Assessment during interactive learning takes more time and attention because an adult needs to observe a child during play. A milestone tracker, like the one on the Earlybird app, helps to easily track child development.
Always take questions or concerns about your child’s development to the pediatrician.
Prepping Activities Takes Time & Effort
Interactive learning activities may take more time and effort to prepare, supervise, and clean up. For busy parents and educators, this is a hurdle.
While not as simple as turning on the tv, interactive activities can still be easy and low-prep. Earlybird created an activity library to share fun, accessible activities that won’t overwhelm busy adults.
More easy, Play-Based Activities:
Is interactive learning more effective?
Yes, interactive learning is an effective educational approach. Research shows that interactive learning effectively promotes school success and understanding of concepts. Especially in the early years, children learn more through hands-on, play-based activities.
It’s not hard to imagine that more learning happens if children are engaged and having fun.
Plenty of time for unstructured play is important, but kids also need adult guidance. Parents and educators can be intentional with interactive learning. Different activities will target different objectives.
You can learn more about your child’s early development for free on the Earlybird app.
Interactive Learning with Earlybird
Many apps claim to be educational and interactive for preschoolers, toddlers, and even infants. But children get the benefits of interactive learning when screens are turned off.
The Earlybird app starts on your phone but inspires hands-on, interactive play. It’s like a curated Pinterest page for your child or early childhood classroom. Each activity will have children learning through interaction with toys, materials, adults, siblings, peers, or their environment.
Parents and caregivers are busy! Having an accessible, easy-to-use resource saves time and effort. And Earlybird’s whole-child approach matches the research on what is best for early learners. Enjoy features such as:
- Activity library for children ages 0 to 6
- Low-prep ideas with accessible materials (that you probably have at home!)
- Milestone tracker
- Quick-read or quick-watch parenting resources
Earlybird is committed to making resources accessible to everyone. Most features are available on the free version of the Earlybird app.
You can also access a free trial of Earlybird’s premium plan to explore printable and the ask-an-expert feature!
Interactive learning helps children build essential skills like curiosity, creativity, and collaboration. Kids will be more interested and invested in the process, leading to a lifelong love of learning.