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10 Ways to Keep Children Learning During Summer Break

May 2, 2012

Your kids don’t have to lose ground this summer due to the break. They can keep right on learning while having fun and you can plan activities to maintain or enhance the things they learned during the school year. We’ve listed a few things to help get you thinking of ways to make this an enriching summer for your kids.

  1. Kitchen math – Now is the time to get the kids to help you in the kitchen. Recipes are perfect for teaching and maintaining knowledge of simple fractions. If you want to get into more complicated math, have the kids help you take a huge recipe and cut it in half or double a recipe to share with someone. All the while they are learning or maintaining their skills.
  2. Astronomy – Summer nights are perfect for star gazing. Take the kids to the planetarium or just get a map of the stars and try to figure out where the constellations are. You could also invest in a telescope to get a closer view of the magnificent night sky. Your kids might just make a new discovery!
  3. History – Are you planning a family vacation? Why not make it an historical tour? Find out what your kids have been studying in history or what they may expect to study next year, and see if you can plan your vacation around a place that fits. Have the kids do some research on points between home and the destination and let them help plan the trip. Need to do a staycation? Not to worry; just find out about your local history and visit places nearby.
  4. Cartography – Teach the kids how to make a map. They can map out the house, then the block. For older kids you can teach them how to read a road map. All the little numbers and symbols mean something. Once they figure out the map legend and how to use the numbers, take a little trip someplace and have them figure out all the exits and distances. This will also help their math skills.
  5. Science – Summer provides all kinds of opportunities for scientific study. Kid can create bug collections, do pond studies or plant identification. Show them how to classify and log their findings in a special journal. You may have a budding naturalist in the making. If you’re really brave, you can show your older kids about the properties of light by using a magnifying glass to burn a piece of wood or you could do something a little more tame like making a pinhole camera.
  6. Language skills – When was the last time you sat down and shared your life story with the kids? This is a perfect time to do that. Make some copies of old family pictures and get the kids to pretend to be journalists and interview you about the people and places in the pictures. They write the stories you tell and save everything in a scrapbook. You get to preserve family history, they get to know you and the relatives better, and they keep up their language skills.
  7. Woodworking – Older kids may enjoy doing woodworking. The measuring required will help them with their math skills. Discussing the properties of the materials (e.g., soft wood vs. hard woods, wood grains, porosity, etc.) can help with critical thinking skills and scientific inquiry.  Obviously, these projects require close supervision by a parent or caregiver.
  8. Sewing – Teaching kids how to read patterns and figuring out yardage will also help with math skills. Designing original items can also help with the development of the creative mind.
  9. Music – There are music camps available that provide training and fun. Many kids look forward to attending these camps on an annual basis. But, if that’s not an option, get the kids interested in music for the fun of it. Sing songs around the campfire and break out the guitar and other instruments. Music also enhances math skills.
  10. Arts and crafts – This is a grossly neglected part of education for many kids. Take them to the art museums and craft fairs. Let them experiment with different craft material or let them try their hand at using oil or watercolor paints. You might even want to enter some of their crafts in the county fair.

Learning doesn’t need to be strictly by the books. Think back to the old days when people learned professions by apprenticeships and hands on experience. Helping your kids keep learning through the summer is a wonderful way to enrich their vacation and it can give you some quality time with them. Who knows? You might even learn something yourself!


7 Responses to 10 Ways to Keep Children Learning During Summer Break

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Melissa Ridenour says:

Great article on avoiding the summer brain drain during school vacation. Providing children with learning activities over their summer break is important. It is equally important to keep children safe at all times, including keeping them safe from predator harm.

It is important to teach children to take a proactive role in staying safe from abduction and exploitation.

My award-winning book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, is a good resource for keeping children safe. The book empowers children to take a proactive role in staying safe from abduction or predator harm. It explains the concept of “stranger” to children in a very reassuring way.

The book also includes a chapter for parents, teachers and other child caregivers. It is available through the publisher, Headline Kids, and through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Ingrams, Follett, and Baker and Taylor.

Check out my book website, Melissa Harker Ridenour Books, at AuthorMelissaHarkerRidenour dot com.

admin says:

Thanks for sharing and for reading!

Linda Sue says:

My dad has done woodworking as a hobby for as long as I can remember and when my kids were really little he would surprise them with a new toy he had made each time they visited. Now that they’re older he lets them come “help” out in the shop while he works. They love it!!

Polly says:

Great suggestions. It’s so important to keep kids learning even when they’re out of school. I’ll be passing along some of these ideas to my nanny!

Tess says:

Awesome post! I’ve been trying to think of fun, educational things to do with my charges this summer and these are perfect! Thanks!!

Rachel E. says:

We send our kids to a week long camp every summer where they are able to pick five activities they do each day of camp that range from sports to arts and crafts to survival skills, etc. The kids have a blast and I love that they’re staying active and engaged! Plus I went to the same camp, so I feel like we’re starting a fun tradition :)

Catherine B. says:

the idea about language skills is a fantastic one – what a great way to get the kids talking to their relatives and do something both fun and productive!