Engagement entails much more than rote repetition of a procedure. Math worksheets tend to present very similar problem types over and over, leading to mundane practice of disassociated skills. For students who understand the material and successfully complete an assignment, another worksheet becomes meaningless. On the other hand, for the students who don't understand the material, an alternative method of instruction is what's needed. Another worksheet simply adds to the student's frustration, or worse, contributes to a belief that "I'll never understand math." A cute image or a "fill_in_the_blanks" riddle does nothing to increase engagement or learning (and let's face it, those riddles are not funny!). Instead, teachers need to increase engagement by providing students with exercises in which they discover patterns and relationships, solve problems, or think creatively about math relationships.
English Worksheets _ What you can do to make working on printable worksheets more enjoyable for your child may often depend on the age and interests of the child. For example, older children may have to read a poem which is on the sheet and then write their own poem in the same sort of style. If they have been used to playing word games while growing up this shouldn't be a problem, you just have to find a way of making the doing of it attractive. One thing that they might enjoy is if you put on a favourite cd and get them to see if they can use some of the main phrases from that in a different way, i.e. in the style of the poem. Depending on your child's age and concentration span there are plenty of fun ways to get them working on printable worksheets.