Summer Learning Disguised As Fun! Tips and Ideas For Your Family
For most children, summer means fun — and learning doesn’t always fit that description. But it’s important to keep your children learning throughout the summer months so they don’t lose what they worked hard to learn during the school year. The trick is to incorporate fun activities that sneak in a bit of learning. Make learning something your kids will want to do this summer with these ideas for summer learning disguised as fun!
Encourage Reading By Focusing On Their Topics Of Interest
Rather than following a strict summer reading program, surround your kids with age-appropriate books on topics they’re interested in. This will help them keep up their reading skills while learning about something that is exciting to them. Better yet, make weekly trips to the local library, allowing your children to pick out the books they want to read that week.
In addition, consider incorporating reading and writing into everyday activities. For example: watching TV with the sound off and captions on or having children read the directions out loud before playing a new game.
Start a Neighborhood Kids’ Book Club
Speaking of reading, why not gather a few neighborhood families for a book club this summer? A book club encourages reading in a social environment, making for wonderful reading motivation (especially for extroverted children). Pick out a book for the group to read, then gather together in the backyard to discuss the book over a picnic lunch.
Not sure how to get the ball rolling? Check with your local library for resources or consult this guide from Scholastic.
Keep Up Writing Skills With Letters, Journaling, and More
Encourage regular writing in ways that your children will enjoy. Whether it’s writing about their day, keeping a nature journal of interesting things they saw while playing outside, writing reviews of the books they’ve read, or penning letters to family and friends, there are many enjoyable ways for children to maintain their writing skills.
You may even consider finding your child a pen pal they can exchange letters or postcards with. Not only will this keep them writing, it’s always exciting to receive mail! Children can write to an out-of-town friend or relative, a resident of the local senior center, or a child from another part of the world found through a pen pal service.
Invite Kids Into the Kitchen
Cooking and baking are wonderful ways to hone math and reading abilities — not to mention planning and time management skills — while making something delicious for the family to enjoy. Have your children help with planning meals, writing the shopping list, picking out ingredients at the grocery store, and preparing and serving meals. Have them read through the recipe, measure out ingredients, and work on fractions by doubling or halving a recipe.
You can even introduce some simple chemistry concepts by talking through how to make ingredient substitutions (such as using coconut oil or margarine in place of butter in a cookie recipe) and noting the difference those substitutions make in the final product.
Incorporate Music Into Everyday Life
Music is not only fun, it has a strikingly positive effect on child development and education, from developing language skills to improving test scores, IQ, and more. Add educational lyrics and you have a fun way to learn a wide variety of topics!
This summer, create a playlist or two full of educational songs that you can play in the background on car trips, during play time, or while making dinner together. Before you know it your child will pick up both a fun melody to sing and a few new facts or skills.
Institute a Family Board Game Night
Board games are a fun way to build skills like logic, reasoning, counting, math, and cooperation. For example, Monopoly teaches math, strategy, and budgeting skills; Clue hones deductive reasoning and memory; even Chutes and Ladders can help young children practice counting and number recognition. Incorporating board games into a family fun night can help kids learn while taking part in important family bonding.
Encourage Pretend Play
Imaginative play (such as playing “house”, “superheroes”, or “store”) helps children build “soft” skills like social dynamics, creativity, and problem solving. These skills are not only essential for a child’s future life, they help support their other learning. Encourage imaginative playtime by providing children with costumes, toys, and even staged play areas such as a play kitchen, retail store setup, and so on.
Take a Nature Walk
Take a walk through nature, asking children to point out the things they observe. Utilize nature guide books, smartphone apps, or even a Google search to look up the plants, birds, animals, and insects your child notices along the path. Pair these walks with books or educational TV programming on these subjects, and encourage children to keep a nature journal, sketchbook, or scrapbook of the things they learn about.
Take Part in Community Events
Check with your local parks and recreation department for summer programming, including camps, exhibits, events, and concerts happening around town, and choose a few to add to your summer calendar.
Or consider finding a volunteer opportunity for your children to participate in. Community service like this can teach children new skills as well as boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. If you aren’t sure where your children could volunteer, Volunteer Match offers a searchable database of volunteer opportunities suitable for kids.
These are only a few ideas for fun summer learning — there are undoubtedly many more. Keep the learning going this summer by incorporating activities that feed into your child’s interests and that make them excited to learn. How will you incorporate summer learning disguised as fun for your children throughout the coming weeks?
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