Summer vacation is upon us and with it long days at the beach and nights full of fireflies and bonfires. Kids think of it as the best time of the year, where you don’t have to study or do homework. But parents worry about kids falling behind or losing all of the precious knowledge they gained during the school year. There are different ways parents can ensure that kids keep learning and succeeding.
Many schools are lengthening the school day or year to ensure that kids maintain their education. There is a concern about burnout for students and that is why experts think a balance between academic studies and enrichment opportunities. This means that education is not just reading, writing, arithmetic, but it is important that a love of learning is introduced to kids.
Learning Through Play
A child’s job is to learn through play. Playing outside is a great opportunity to learn. Watching plants grow in the garden, watching caterpillars become butterflies, and even how shadows grow and shrink with the sun.
Toys can really help try Nancy B’s Crime Solver Scope. This toy includes a combination telescope and microscope for solving ‘crimes’. It also includes a forensics journal for documenting evidence, like finger prints and hair. This toy teaches kids problem solving skills and helps them get excited about science.
Get into geocaching with the kids with the Hide & Seek Geocache. Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt that uses GPS. There are hundreds of thousands of people that play in the US. You can hide a trinket in outdoor places or look for little prizes that others have hidden. It teaches kids how to read maps, logging data, and it’s a lot of fun for the whole family.
Many libraries and schools offer summer reading programs for kids of all ages. Summer reading programs usually follow a similar structure. Children read books and receive a sticker or some kind of marker for each book read. After a certain number of stickers are collected, kids receive a prize or are entered in a raffle. It is a great motivation and studies have shown that it prevents the summer learning slide that can occur.
If you are not near a library that offers a summer reading program, you can start one for your own family, with you determining prizes that will entice your children to read. You can also work reading into your daily lives by asking kids to read recipes to you as you make dinner, turning off the volume and turning on closed captions for TV programs, and with mandated daily reading.
Family Game Nights
Family game nights are a great time for kids to learn. By counting the cards each player receives, counting the spaces taken after each turn, and learning the rules of the game kids can flex their academic muscles.
Try games like the Great States Board Game, a game that is sure to make family game nights fun and teach your kids about geography. It is a quiz game wherein players have to answer times questions on landmarks, state capitols, geography, and more.
Another great game is Spot it Party! This game involves cards covered in symbols. Each symbol has a match on only one other card. This is a great game to improve visual focus, memory, perception, and reaction time.
Every day is an Opportunity
Don’t forget that every day there is an opportunity for you to teach your child new skills and get her excited about learning. When you go out to eat, ask your child to calculate the tip. When you go to the beach, talk about the moon’s effect on the tides. Let your kid ask you questions and if you don’t know the answer, look it up. Even better, help them look it up.
A trip to the zoo is a great lesson in science, biology, and more. Let your child read the zoo map and direct the family. If you go on a trip, you can do the same. Ask him to calculate the time it will take to get somewhere from the speed and distance.
Helping your Child learn this Summer
This summer you can help your child be prepared for the next school year. Follow these tips for educational growth this summer.