With each passing day we get closer to summer. For kids, it means a blissful two-month vacation and time spent in the backyard. For parents, it means spending more time as a family and learning how to keep your kids' education going throughout the summer months. If you're stuck for ideas, here are a few ways you can help keep your kids' minds fully engaged this summer.
Encourage Creative WritingWriting essays over the summer is no fun for your kids. Then again, you can't just let your children go all summer without practicing some of their writing skills. This is especially important for children who are just beginning to grasp writing comprehensively. The good news is that it doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, you can fit it right into your summer recreation schedule! Say you're one of the 87 million people who participate in recreational boating. Before or after you've taken your family boat out for the day, ask your kids to write you a story about your family boat. Just make sure they both have a pencil, paper, and the means to draw as many pictures to illustrate the story as they want. You just might be surprised at how easily activities like this can foster a love of writing for fun.
Practice Math SkillsTo practice basic math skills, all you'll need is a big jar and some pocket change. Start collecting change in your jar on the first day of summer. Sit with your kids and take weekly estimates of how much money has accumulated in the jar over the previous seven days. On the last day of the month, make a final estimate of the change in the jar. Then once all of the estimates are in, sit with your kids and count the actual amount of money in the jar. Once this is done, you can plan a special purchase with them. Not only does this help your younger children practice counting skills, but older kids can work on their estimation skills and then their budgeting skills afterward.
Don't Fear the InternetIf you're truly stuck for ideas when it comes to summer learning, there is absolutely no shame in turning to the internet for help. Whether you find a fun, informative video for your kids to watch or you find simple activities like the ones we're talking about here, it's a wonderful tool. And considering that fiber optics can transmit almost 15.5 terabits of data per second, you'll likely come up with something great in no time. Do be mindful of how much time your kids are spending on the internet over the summer, though. Setting healthy boundaries is also a part of utilizing the internet to its fullest extent!
Give Grandma and Grandpa a CallPracticing skills like writing and math is important, but history is just as essential to a comprehensive education. And if you're lucky enough to have your parents as part of the 90% of seniors who choose to age in place, a quick visit or a call can be an excellent learning tool. Having them teach a quick history lesson to your kids can be all the learning they need for a day. You could help your kids plan interview questions for their grandparents or have grandma and grandpa tell them what summer was like when they were young. Not only is this a great way to incorporate history into summer learning, but it's also an excellent way to teach your kids about your family's history.
Make Time for LearningNo matter what activities you decide to plan with your kids for summer learning, the more important thing to remember is that you need to make time for them. Create a summer schedule with your kids -- all it takes is 15 to 30 minutes per day to practice skills like math and writing, do a science experiment, make some art, or teach a history lesson. Keeping your kids engaged over the summer starts with you being engaged in their learning experience.
Summer is almost here! Which of these summer learning activities will you try with your kids?
Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.