What is Active Learning? Understanding the benefits for toddlers and preschoolers!

Posted on in Parent Tips

Many parents struggle when their kids are not keen on going to school every day, or find the homework or any other educational activities too boring. This usually ends with children being troublesome and start doing things that put their parents’ nerves out of control. The thing is that they used to be excited about going to kindergarten or preschool, but now it is a stressful thing to do, and learning becomes a struggle not just for parents but especially for the kids themselves. Two words change everything: Active Learning. While at an early age, preschool is a fun and full of joy learning place where kids use to be happy and their brains work like a sponge, absorbing everything. As they move to primary school, when confronted with traditional learning activities that are still too passive, children start to, guess what, dislike it. They find it not fun at all and then they start to feel and generate stress. Who likes to do boring stuff every hour of every day, all year long, and repeat that year by year? You probably don’t, and kids aren’t different. But, what if learning could be a fun activity? What if schools and parents at home found new ways to make their kids learn while having fun? Either if you are a parent, a teacher, a caregiver, an aunt or uncle, or someone that somehow is related to kids and keen on their education, stay with us and we will share the meaning of learning through fun, the benefits of creative learning for children and of course, practical and fun learning kids activities plus active learning strategies for you to try and implement on a daily basis.

On this article:

What is Active Learning?

The first question that probably comes to your mind is this one. Educators Mary Hohmann and David Weikart in their book Educating Young Children: Active Learning Practices for Preschool and Child Care Programs, defined active learning, aka kinesthetic learning, as “learning in which the child, by acting on objects and interacting with people, ideas and events, constructs new understanding. No one else can have experiences for the child; children must do this for themselves”. Additionally, sensory-motor experiences come through feeling, smelling, hearing, looking at, and listening to, objects.

In other words, it is learning through fun. Either with books, videos, music, and any other activity.

Summing up, the fun learning approach is a pedagogical solution that enables kids to discover the joy of learning and become lifelong learners. The goal is to generate interest and motivation in children, so they can actually learn. If children are not interested or motivated, learning, or at least effective learning, will not happen.

Learn While Having Fun

So, my child will learn better while having fun? Are you probably asking…

Absolutely. Thanks to many specialists and their research, we know today that when stress activates the brain’s affective filters, information flow to the higher cognitive networks is limited and the learning process grinds to a halt.

This is what usually happens when kids are confronted with traditional passive learning in primary school, for example, or also at home with some kind of learning activities. And here is where active learning for kids could make a difference in your child’s mood while learning, and ultimately, your kids’ quality of learning.

By practicing learning through fun kids are totally free of stress essentially because they are enjoying what they are doing and so they are totally committed and concentrated on it.

What are the benefits of Active Learning?

8 benefits of Active Learning for children - image - sparks imagination, builds self-esteem, develop motor skills, best sleeping, quality of learning, good mood, strong problem-solving, outside-the-box thinking.

There are so many. From body and mind improvements to positive habits, problem-solving skills, and, most importantly, emotional control. Here are some of the advantages of fun learning:

  • Increases the quality of learning

    As a result of getting stress out of the way and enjoying learning as a fun activity, kids enhance their learning to higher levels.

  • Raises the good mood of kids

    After they finish their educational tasks and activities, and consequently benefits families by helping to improve quality time together.

  • Kids will also sleep better

    Although sleep problems could come from everywhere, the truth is that a child without stress rests better than a stressful one. All you need to do is keep on doing things and talk to your child in a way that doesn’t stress her/him. In one word, be positive in everything you do with and say to your child.

  • It helps children to develop strong problem-solving skills and think outside the box

    And do so with pleasure. Sometimes children or even adults are struggling for a solution to a specific challenge ahead. It’s boring and stressful, and every distraction deviates them (and you) from the aim. Probably this happens because they learn everything without passion. Didn’t appreciate the journey. Instead, when they and you are doing something they like, they are excited, and sometimes there even exists a challenge. They just do it. As Ellon Musk once said, “the world, and especially companies, needs people that find solutions, every day. Those with better problem-solving skills will positively demarcate themselves from others.” The ability to solve seemingly unsolvable problems is essential to success, regardless of the type of success every person is searching for.

  • Develops motor skills

    As many activities could be dancing, handling objects, or building puzzles, the fine motor skills will get a boost, especially at an early age. Movement, either with their legs, feet, body, or arms, is a key component in children’s growth and health.

  • Sparks imagination and creativity

    Fun & Learn focuses on the joy and the well-being of the child and some activities, like free drawing or free painting, help kids not only to improve coordination and handling objects but, most importantly, led them to the exploration world where the magic of imagination and creativity happens. Whatever your kids paint or draw, always give a positive insight. They will feel gracious and confident.

  • Self-esteem and confidence

    The same as the point before. While little ones are playing and learning, they will feel the need to share their results, and when they feel that the feedback is positive, their self-confidence and self-esteem get a massive boost. Remember, be positive, always.

kinesthetic learning home activities for toddlers and preschoolers


What creative learning activities for toddlers and preschoolers can parents organize at home?

  • Drawing and painting. Drawing their own hands, objects and toys, and paint them after. You can use age-appropriate colored pencils and brush paintings. Here is a very good and updated article about kids’ art supplies to help you find the best choices for your child and also get some ideas about what to paint and draw. (imagem da adenina a pintar as mãos)
  • Play with stickers. Buy blank sheet notebooks and appropriate colored-themed stickers for kids that could be about geometric shapes, the galaxy plus the earth, animals, or a special time of the year like Christmas or Easter, and allow your child to paste them. You will be surprised by the way they learn how to handle them and use their imagination to build cute pieces of art.
  • Puzzles and memory games. Because we do it with our one and a half year old girl, we recommend initiating with a puzzle of 16 pieces and helping them at the beginning. Try a little bit every day and let them progressively try by themselves. Watch the magic of self and fun learning happen.
  • Storytime and reading time. Well, it is not very creative but indeed sparks creativity and you can always find a way to make it more imaginative. You can read to your child if she or he still doesn’t know how to read (you can still do it even if she or he knows), let them read alone, or create a storytime corner in the room where kids can read or act. The animals’ stories work pretty well on this because they love to imitate animals’ sounds and learn about them too.
  • Transfer solids and liquids. Durty means funny. Emptying and filling containers with water, sand, salt, whatever you could find in your home that could easily be transferred by a toddler or a kid with a spoon or their hands. Even during eating time, kids love to transfer food from one plate to another. Make sure to use old clothes that they can mess up and do it in a spot in your house where you are ok about getting dirt.
  • Watch safe and fun learning videos. First, we care about screen-time quality, especially for early-aged children. Secondly, we all know that videos have an important role in kids’ growth as they learn colors, animals, or shapes and improve their vocabulary. Unfortunately, the majority of options out there provide a very passive experience and that is the opposite of active learning. That is why we created KidsBeeTV and if you didn’t know about it yet, our Safe Cartoons Video App for Kids is a subscription-based video platform for children up to 8 years old that features only 100% safe and curated content with a large variety of play-based learning kids’ shows. Yes, you read it right, a fun, positive, educational, and active experience for kids.
  • Singing, dancing, and clapping. One of the best ways to do that is through videos and KidsBeeTV also offers a large variety of sing-along and dance videos. Take a look. On the other hand, you can also create a specific playlist on your smartphone and play it. The benefit of the videos is that kids are watching the character’s moves and colors, imitating, dancing, singing, and learning at the same time, and having a massive amount of fun.

Play-based Learning Video Experience vs Passive Video Experience

To go with the flow, let’s continue talking about videos by exploring the differences between active and passive screen time.

Usually is easy for parents to share their phones or give children their own devices and play YouTube.

Get them distracted and in a fun mood, during a certain period of time.

The thing is that as time goes by and this habit gets stronger and stronger, many parents start to notice that the long time of exposure to passive video experiences like the type YouTube provides made several not so fun changes in their kid’s day-to-day lifestyle and behavior.

Some of the disadvantages related to spending too much time on screen with a passive-based experience platform that parents notice are these:

Disadvantages of Passive Video Experience for kids

  • Screen time increase. The more they watch, the more kids want to watch. Not a bad thing but needs to be a control, especially because is non-active screen time activity. Also, practicing low-quality screen time brings other issues like low levels of mobility skills, communication skills and good mood, among others. And here is when it rings the bells of parents’ preoccupations with the quality of the screen time and online security as well.

  • Sleep problems. When children watch plenty of hours of videos especially before going to bed, usually they tend to have bad nights or difficulties falling asleep which increases the possibility of happening other problems with kids’ health such as depression and anxiety.
  • Lower scores at school. As their brain and body get used to a daily basis passive experience, the levels of the cognitive brain’s area get lower and lower. Therefore, kids with more passive video hours, especially more than 2 hours a day, started to have difficulties with problem-solving, critical thinking, and expressing themselves, either by speaking or writing.
  • Higher levels of stress. Many parents’ struggles nowadays are about their kids’ behavior, and passive video experience could play a relevant part in that issue. They notice their kids are getting annoying more easily, speak very loud, had no patience to do almost any activity.

However, there is a more valuable option for parents in terms of screen time to help them create new and healthy habits for their kids while they are having fun on mobile devices or TVs.

The goal is to only provide active screen time but many parents. You now know what active learning is and the good these activities could and would do to your little ones.

To offer them the possibility of continuing having the pleasure of watching videos they like with even more fun and that makes them feel even better, probably is the ultimate aim for every parent.

And here are more benefits of active learning video experience to link with the ones you already know and read about above in this article:

The Benefits of Quality Screen Time or Active Learning Video Experience For Kids (and For Parents Too)

Play-based learning video playlists on KidsBeeTV-a child dancing while watchin kidsbeetv creative learning video experience app for kids
  • Kids do more exercise. This is self-explanatory and probably many of you already have kids that do practice a lot. However, the magic happens when you have a girl or a boy that simply doesn’t like to do exercise. When in front of videos she or he likes, that makes them move and imitate the characters on screen, you will watch them loose and move their bodies like never before. They could even ask you to join them. The cherry on top of the cake.
  • Develop kids’ coordination. You will find many video categories that talk about directions, body movements, and writing skills. Some of them will also give them small and fun tasks to do while watching. All of this will help your tots to improve coordination and this is a very good advantage, especially in early-aged kids.
  • Improve kids’ focus. Their mind is now more flexible and active the ever and so, their level of concentration will raise and with that, their focus and specific tasks will also get to a higher level.
  • Easier for parents to control screen time. Although active learning video apps like KidsBeeTV have the option to control and set up screen time, after kids watch and learn for let’s say an hour, they will be in a much better humor and ready to do other tasks outside the screen. When the old habit of passive screen time is replaced by the new habit of active video experience, it will be even easier for parents to do other activities with their kids.
  • Parents are free of concerns. Say goodbye to bad content shown to your kids that is run by algorithms, health concerns, and stressful communication with and by children. active learning videos will fulfill many of your kids’ needs related to having a fun time, learning time, and exercise time. They will do much more positive and educational stuff in much less time and will start to feel that as well. So, your concerns will be planning the next positive activity. Probably, go to the grocery with them or play hide and seek.

Play-based learning video playlists on KidsBeeTV

Being our mission to provide a safe, fun, and educational usage of technology for kids and families, our aim for our Safe Cartoons Video App KidsBeeTV is to provide the best and higher screen time quality.

Therefore, alongside popular kids’ entertainment content, we also feature interactive and educational video playlists for all kids ages 0 to 8 years old. Some of the special creative learning video channels available are:

    • Exercise and Learn with Miss Linky
    • Lingokids Curiosity Time
    • Mr. Boom Boom’s Music Room
    • Learn Animals with Blabina
    • Learn and Play with Paprika
    • Popz Treehouse

Miss Linky Exercise Learning Activity Video Example

Play-Based Strategies for Parents

What strategies for toddlers and preschoolers can I use?

There are several active learning strategies you can use, but here we will focus on 5 that we believe are the most relevant for these age groups.

1. Positive mind

The first one and already referenced in this article is to always be positive with your child in whatever she or he is doing or has done.

2. Discussion

Always try to create a meaningful discussion about the exercise or activity your child has done, asking questions and waiting for the answers. This will help communication and also strength the parent-child relationship.

3. Join your child’s play

Whenever the activity allows, ask your child if you can join and be helpful, they usually accept. Talk about the choices they have made and watch what they do with materials.

4. Provide child alone time

Is very important for them, and for parents too, to get free of distractions while playing or doing specific learning activities. Let them play by themselves in a secure environment where you can take an eye on it and just go there if your child calls you. There are huge benefits for kids about this mostly related to self-control, emotional control, and self-confidence.

5. Be generous and helpful

Listen to their needs, problems, and difficulties when they are doing a creative learning activity and discuss the situation so you can get into the solutions as a team. Don’t fall into the trap of getting all the answers for them. This is a great opportunity to develop your child’s collaboration and team spirit as well as solving-problems skills.

Tips for Parents: How to Create Awesome Active Learning Experiences for kids?

Kids’ Learning is Fun When…

  • You love what you do – When we’re inspired or passionate about something, learning feels fun, rewarding, and easy to go and do a little bit more to learn more.

  • You feel safe – A supportive and safe environment makes us feel free to explore, grow and set new goals.
  • The environment is inspiring – Our physical and digital environments must be designed having kids in mind. They should spark inspiration.
  • You are appreciated for who you are – Positive learning grows from an atmosphere of respect and appreciation.
  • It’s fun to fail – Making mistakes is allowed within a safe atmosphere to foster creativity and innovation. Salut failure. Celebrate it. It’s the only way to improve and grow. Don’t build the scare of failure in your child’s mind.

Summing up, kids (and also adults) simply do most, do better, and feel better when they really are enjoying and having fun while doing it. Whatever it is.

Having this in mind is our responsibility as parents and educators to provide them with the best tools and environments so they can learn and grow, enjoying the process. So they can look at almost every activity with joy, even learning. Especially learning.

Experts believe that being the educational process is the most critical and lasting task we do as living human beings, the more fun, proactive and productive we could make it for our kids, the more likely they will reach adulthood facing any situation with joy and responsibility. It will make the finding solutions process less stressful and more accurate for people.

The world needs problem-solving experts, let’s build them not just experts, but experts that love what they do.


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