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This summer, don't let your kids become victims of the dreaded summer slide. Use these 10 summer learning activities to keep kids' minds sharp and help them build new skills all summer long.
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Summer is here and with it comes trips to the pool, family
vacations, and a whole lot of rest and relaxation. The last thing most kids
want to think about during the summer is learning. However, learning is as
important during the summer as it is during the rest of the year. This summer,
keep kids’ brains sharp by enjoying some fun learning activities.
Get kids to help plan the family vacation, or even a short
staycation, this year. If you don’t already have a vacation destination in mind,
have kids research possible locations or attractions. As you plan the trip,
talk to kids about things like setting and sticking to a budget and mapping out
the best route to get to your vacation destination. If you can’t afford to go
on a real vacation, you can still let kids pretend money is no object as they
plan the vacation of a lifetime.
Summer is known for warmer weather and sunny days, which
makes it the perfect time to get outside and take a walk. Head to a local park
or just walk around the neighborhood. As you walk, point out different people,
places, and items in nature that you notice. You can even turn the walk into a
scavenger hunt and make a list of objects for kids to search for.
Since the weather is warmer and kids don’t have to get up
early for school, summer is also the perfect time to stay up late and look at
the sky. Grab a map of the constellations and see how many kids can find or try
to catch a glimpse of a shooting star as it streaks across the sky.
Kids can learn key character traits, such as the importance
of being kind and putting others first. Use the summer as a chance to get kids
involved in community service activities. Hold a food drive and donate the food
to a local food bank, pick up trash at a park, visit a nursing home, or sign up
to help at an animal shelter.
The pool is a great place for swimming and working on your
tan. It’s also a great place to practice math. Kids can use a stopwatch to see
how fast their friends can swim across the pool or how long they can hold their
breath under water. You can also take along different sizes of cups, buckets,
and measuring cups and kids can see how much pool water can fit in each one.
How many cups does it take to fill a bucket?
Use the summer as a chance to check out local museums or factories. Many town historical societies have museums with free or inexpensive
admission fees. Factories often offer free tours too. If there aren’t any
museums or factories nearby, you can find a lot of virtual tours online.
Is there an area where kids need help or a particular topic
they want to learn more about? If so, use the summer as a chance for them to
explore their interests and improve their skills. Having kids complete online, self-paced lessons or watch educational videos helps ensure that any screen time kids enjoy during the summer is high-quality.
If you live in a house with a yard, consider giving kids a
small area to plant and maintain a garden. Kids can plant fruits, vegetables,
or just pretty flowers. Older kids can research the best plants for your area
and draw out a plan for the garden. You can even turn the garden into a science
project and have kids determine how factors such as soil type and watering
schedules affect the growth rates of plants. If you don’t have a yard, consider
planting a small container garden indoors or on a patio.
Challenge kids to read a variety of books this summer by
completing a summer reading challenge. Kids can try to read at least one book
every week during summer vacation or read a book for every letter of the
alphabet. You can also download and print a pre-made reading challenge for kids to complete.
At the end of every day, encourage kids to write down their
adventures. Not only is keeping a journal a great way to help kids improve
their writing skills, it’ll also make the “What I Did Over the Summer” essay
easier to write when the school year starts again.
This summer, give kids a chance to relax, but also keep
their brains sharp by filling their time off from school with learning
activities. Don’t forget to throw in some summer activities that are just for fun to!
Stacy Zeiger is a former middle school English teacher and
developer of a line of character
education materials, as well as the current Manager of ELA content for HelpTeaching.com, a site that provides
resources for K-12 teachers, parents, and students. Find HelpTeaching on Facebook and Twitter.
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