How to “Trick” Kids Into Learning

by Melissa on June 7, 2010

“Hey! You tricked me into learning that!” one of my students exclaimed the other day.

“Tricked you?” I questioned him. “What do you mean.”

“Well . . . you made it fun. It didn’t seem like work.”

It’s funny, but I find that whenever learning doesn’t seem like work for them, teaching doesn’t seem like work for me, either!

One of the easiest (and most successful) experiences I ever had teaching a project was when Patrick and I were sharing a classroom. The kids were studying Ancient Egypt, and the class was making a giant diorama of the city. We had clay in all different colors, and in order to get some of the clay to add to the diorama, our students would have to explain what they wanted to make with it and show us the reference book where they learned that what they wanted to make belonged in the diorama.

They were so excited to get their little paws on that clay that they were running to research!

Those kids internalized what they studied like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was fun, and exciting. The best part was when they explained the diorama to their parents at conferences. Their knowledge of this ancient civilization was so vast that the parents were blown away.

Here’s a recipe for Baker’s Clay if you ever feel inclined to “trick” your kiddo into learning. You’ll be amazed at how fun it is for you both!

Baker’s Clay

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 4 cups flower
  1. Mix salt and water.
  2. Add flour.
  3. Stir until combined.
  4. Knead at least five minutes.
  5. Store in an airtight container.

After they’re done sculpting, you can bake their creations in the oven. Then your kiddo will have fun using permanent markers or glaze to add some color.

This will be incredibly successful for your kinesthetic learner. If you have a visual or auditory learner, this activity will still be fun your child and it will also help expose them to a different learning style so they can be flexible learners.


Melissa is the founder of Tandem Teaching and teaches in the inner-city. She blogs weekly about tips parents can implement to enhance their connection with their children and ways to bring out their children’s inherent gifts. Contact her for a private consulting session.


Jim June 7, 2010 at 10:42 am

I loved molding clay! This is one trick that definitely gets kids interested in learning.

Amanda June 10, 2010 at 12:13 am

That sounds like so much fun. It was certainly better than learning about ancient Egypt sitting at my desk staring at my book. Very cool.