The connection between fun and learning is palpable. When fun is infused into the learning process, kids look forward to school and the activities associated with it. Creativity and fun are key components of the learning process and is an important aspect of the classroom environment.

Every day, I see the positive correlation between fun and learning at 826 National. At our writing centers and through our in-school tutoring programs and sponsored field trips, we focus on infusing fun into the learning process. In fact, parents clearly recognize the connection between having fun in school and improved academic performance, as 93% believe their children perform better when having fun during the school day, according to a recent online survey*.

As parents send our kids back to school, I can offer the following tips to parents and teachers to help their kids/students have fun, both in and outside of the classroom:

•        Creativity is a classroom staple. Encourage fun and creativity in every area, including writing and drawing, and in subjects like science. Kids need to know that there’s not always a right answer; sometimes, education is subjective and experimental.

•        Learning can take place outside school walls, too – field trips are a great way to make learning fun. Venturing beyond school boundaries for a hands-on approach excites students and can help spark, or reinvigorate, a passion for learning. Teachers can even consider taking “mini” field trips to the school library or auditorium for a change of scenery and a new lesson.

•        Time outdoors, be it for recess or fun after school activities, allows kids to explore the world beyond the classroom and is often the place where lifelong lessons are learned. Taking a break outdoors during the school day – even if it’s just having lunch outside – allows youth to recharge and has been shown to help enhance concentration and learning in the classroom.

•    Through programs like Box Tops for Education® (BTFE) and the Totino’s “Learn a Ton When School is Fun” sweepstakes – which will award four schools across the country with 250,000 Bonus Box Tops this school year, the equivalent of $25,000 each – parents and teachers can help bring fun projects to life that otherwise might not be possible due to resource and funding limitations.

Gerald RichardsGerald Richards is the CEO of 826 National, a nationally-recognized nonprofit supporting collaboration and creativity in the learning process. With nearly twenty years of management and development experience at national nonprofit organizations, including the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the United Negro College Fund, Gerald is a respected advocate for youth and education access as well as for fun and learning.

* Survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Totino’s, June 2011 for fun and learning.