Keeping Your Children Engaged in Learning During the Summer
Summer break is such a magical time for children. Remember how you loved going to the beach, playing with your friends, sleeping in and not having to race through breakfast, and then long summer nights playing until the sunset. Your children will love all of those same things, and one day they’ll feel nostalgic thinking about their childhood.
Unfortunately, summer break can also lead to the infamous summer slide: When your children are so excited to forget about school for a while that they forget what they learned in school. So how do you balance between keeping your children academically engaged during break and letting them make those fun memories? It is possible, and we’ve got the tips you need to help you do just that.
Think Outside the Classroom
Avoid rote learning. Now is not the time for memorization and repetition. Instead, this is the time to have fun and make your experiences meaningful. Also, for children who learn best with different methods, leaving the traditional classroom model behind is a huge relief.
The entire cycle of planting a seed, growing it, harvesting the food, and then making something to eat is full of learning opportunities. This is a great way to incorporate hands-on learning, but it also involves seeing, smelling, and tasting. If you don’t have the space for a garden, a pot of strawberries or tomatoes will work.
Cook Meals Together
While we’re mentioning eating, start making meals together. Cooking and baking involve math skills. You can incorporate some health and science if you dive into nutrition, calories, and creating healthy, well-balanced meals. It goes even deeper because you’re giving them life skills for their future. In college they won’t have to rely on takeout and pizza to survive. And probably the best part is that they’ll cherish this time together and feel great about helping.
Family movie night can be used to teach them important history lessons. Some good ones to consider: Hidden Figures, Glory, The Post, Dances with Wolves, Memphis Belle, The Right Stuff, Gettysburg, All Quiet on the Western Front. There are many more, and you can check the reading lists for school if you’re looking for others. Just make sure you’re aiming for age-appropriate movies because a lot of the war ones can cause horrible nightmares. After your family movie, discuss what it was like to live in that time. What would their challenges be? What would be nice about living then? When you can make history come alive, children love to learn about it.
Yes, reading is fundamental, and it’s a crucial element in preventing summer slide. But you already knew that. So, let’s take it to a new level. Each day, pick one vocabulary word, and everyone in the family has to try to use the word as much as possible. Make a big deal out of it so it’s more fun.
Sidewalk Chalk Quiz
Turn the sidewalk into a fun adventure. You go out and write a bunch of questions on the sidewalk, then challenge your child to answer them. This is a lot like taking a quiz in school, but it’s more fun because it’s outside and chalk. If you can come up with some questions they can answer with a drawing – all the better.
There are so many board games and online games that focus on learning, and they do it so that your kids don’t realize that’s the object. This is an easy way to help them stay ahead of the curve, and the entire family can get in on the action.
New Topic Mondays
Start the week with a new topic. Maybe there’s library preparation involved, and you need to research your topic. Maybe your little one is obsessed with dinosaurs so every Monday can feature a new dinosaur. Whatever the case, that’s what you focus on for the week. Talk about the topic, read up on it, share facts, watch movies, draw – whatever you can to make that week all about that topic.
Creativity is a huge part of learning and expanding your little one’s brain. Have an arts and crafts area set up so they can play and create whenever they feel like it. Start a story and have everyone in the family add a paragraph and keep that going until you have your one big, strange family tale. Try something new, like making a clay pot or papier-mache. Visit an art fair and see what interests your child, then talk to the artist so your kiddo can learn on the spot. Celebrate their wildly silly minds.
Camping doesn’t have to go any further than your backyard because there can be a lot of learning right there. Look for bugs and insects and catalog them. Explore different plants and trees and talk about how useful they are, not just for food and wood but photosynthesis too. Spend the nighttime looking at the stars and talking about the universe while picking out constellations.
Anytime you can turn learning time into fun with friends, they’ll enjoy it. Have a scavenger hunt and make it a team race. Create a kids’ book club and give them books to read, and have a party to discuss the books. Or have a party and watch a movie based on the books. They can share their new cooking skills. And chalk quizzes can include everyone.
Thank you again for joining us for another edition of The Weekly Bubble! We hope this blog post was informative for you and your children. If you have any questions or tips about avoiding the summer slide, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
We’ll talk to you next week!