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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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