One of the things that thrills me most as a mom is letting the kids lead me in their learning. Often I start doing an activity and Tommy looks at me with wide beautiful blue eyes and says, “Mom, I have an idea!” That’s when I know the activity is going to be awesome.

Letting a child take the lead in his or her learning gives them ownership. It leads to an incredibly high level of engagement that results more substantial learning. Think back to your own education. How much did you learn when you were forced to do an activity that you weren’t interested in? Compare that to how much you learned about hobbies and subjects you were free to explore in any way and at any pace you wanted to? How much more do you learn when you love a subject or you are passionate about it for any reason?

And so it was with the activity I am sharing with you today. I had in mind one thing, but as we got going Tommy took the reigns and led this activity in a completely new and wonderful way.

Since Halloween is coming up this week we made it Halloween themed, but it’s an easy activity to do under any theme any time of the year.

We cut out shapes of ghosts, bats, and pumpkins from paper. Then we wrote math problems on the back of each shape. (He wrote half and I wrote half.) He is working on simple addition and subtraction right now, but you could easily adapt this to whatever math your child is learning. You could even write sight words or spelling words if you want it to be a reading activity!

We then attached a paper clip to each little figure. Tommy chose a magnet from our magnet set and attached it to a “fishing pole”, in this case, a rubber mallet, with string. Then we were ready to go a fishin’!

We took turns catching shapes and then answering the math facts printed on the back. We had a great time together, Tommy especially, since he is the one who made up the game and decided what we were going to do each step of the way. It gave him ownership, expanded his creativity, and kept him completely engaged the entire time.

What skills did we work on? Well, he practiced fine motor skills by cutting. He wrote numbers and answered math facts. He learned about magnets as we fished. And, most importantly, he used his imagination, improved his leadership skills, and had fun!

Have you had any positive experiences when your child has led an activity? Please share!

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.