Welcome to summer! This is typically a time for kids to kick back, indulge in a little extra screen time, and perhaps even play outside. However, too often kids end up in “zombie mode” in front of a screen for way too many hours a day. Here are a few suggestions for keeping kids active and engaged this summer.
- Make reading a habit. Find what your family likes to read. Is it magazines, gaming manuals, newspapers, novels, or manga? For a change, try family read-alouds. Take turns reading out loud to your family, your pets, or anyone who will listen. 🙂 You can find book lists for all ages on the American Library Association Page here.
- Enroll in our summer reading program as it will provide your child with opportunities to win prizes for exercising their brain power.
- Cook using recipes. This is one of the best ways to integrate math, reading, and following directions. Help your child put together their favorite recipes in a cookbook or let your child design the menu for a meal.
- Plant a garden. Your child will learn responsibility and take pride as they watch their plants grow and thrive. Read books about gardening, rocks, and different environments of the world.
- Take a field trip. Head out to a museum, zoo, or local park with walking trails. Keep a journal about your travels.
- Learn a new word each week. Hang it on the fridge and see who can use it the most times throughout the week.
- Play quick games with flashcards like Math War or Concentration to keep math skills sharp.
- Listen to audiobooks during your summer road trip.
- Take pictures and make a summer scrapbook. Encourage your children to write narratives to accompany the pictures. A picture of the library makes a great addition to any scrapbook! 🙂
The following advice from scholastic.com will help keep learning engaging:
- Let kids read what they want.
Children won’t gain as much from summer reading if they aren’t truly enjoying it. Kids should have access to a wide variety of books that they enjoy reading and are fully able to comprehend. They’ll be on board: Nearly 60 percent of children ages 6 to 17 say they love or like reading books for fun a lot, and 52 percent think it’s extremely or very important, according to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report.
- Make time for smart play.
Games and puzzles are a great way for kids to brush up on the basics while having fun at the same time. Whether it’s a game geared specifically toward teaching kids math skills or a learning activity that helps them brush up on vocabulary, such as a sight word mat, there are plenty of ways to get children engaged and help them flex their brain power without turning it into a tutoring session.
- Get out of the house.
Experts have found that novelty stimulates the brain and promotes learning. Visiting a historic site or even simply reading together at the park can help your child get more excited about reading and learning. You can also visit a certain location inspired by the books you read together: For instance, read Hidden Figures, the inspiring true story about four black female mathematicians who helped NASA launch astronauts into space, and then check out a planetarium, bringing up topics covered in the book. This helps reinforce what kids are learning from books in a real-world setting.
- Use your imagination.
Kids who use their imagination are also expanding their vocabularies and experimenting with new concepts. Even though it may not seem like they’re directly “learning” when they’re crafting their own superhero capes out of kitchen towels or dreaming up complex chain reactions with LEGO sets, they’re still calling on familiar skills and developing new ones. You could even play “theater” and put on a show inspired by all of the great summer books you’re reading together.”