Ahh summer, a time for friends, family, and freedom. I believe that teachers, students, and parents are all in need of a break from the regular school regimen. However, several studies show that children can suffer from learning loss if they are stagnant during the summer months. Here are some fun ways to sneak in learning to avoid the summer setback.
1) Set a Library Routine: In addition to your children’s at-home reading routine (see 10 Tips for Reluctant Readers for ideas), try to take a weekly trip to your local public library. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to get children excited about reading. Give your child about 15-20 minutes (or more if engaged) to browse/read books, and then help your child pick out a few ‘just right’ books about topics of interest for home reading. Most libraries sponsor summer reading goals, so be sure to check if there are any special programs going on that might be appealing to your child. Also, try following the library trip up with some kind of a perk (such as a quick drop by the frozen yogurt bar) to ensure that your child has a positive outlook about these outings.
2) Be Vacation Ready: There are a few things you can do to promote learning while possibly avoiding the gagillion ‘are we there yet’s’ on long trips. Keep a stash of books/magazines in your car, as well as a journal and writing utensils so that your child can document the trip. A fellow Virginia blogger created The Inspired Vacation Journal for this very reason. Encourage your child to write a postcard to a friend or family member. If maps are available, allow your child to be the ‘navigator’ of the road trip or through the park, museum, etc.
3) Use Technology: There are tons are great web sites and apps for children that promote learning. WeGiveBooks.org provides access to hundreds of popular children’s books for online reading. Here are some other free, interactive sites for kids. BestAppsForKids.com features some of the best apps by age, grade level, subject matter, and more.
4) Buy It/Sell It: Lemonade stands or yard sales are a great way to reinforce some key academic skills for kids while teaching responsibility. Have your child create the signs and play ‘cashier’. Also, look for opportunities to have your kid read signs and menus while out and about. Encourage your child to count and pay for items at concession stands or even when the ICE CREAM MANNNN rolls through the neighborhood.
5) Read It/Watch It: Having your child read a book and then watch the movie adaptation may be the perfect activity for a rainy day. A few great options of book/movie pairs are The Lorax, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Curious George, 101 Dalmations, Jumanji, and Where the Wild Things Are. For more options, view Popular Children’s Books with Movie Adaptions here.
If you have any more ideas of ways to keep those kiddos learning over the summer, please post!!!