Summer break from school is meant to be a way for kids to get outside and be kids while they process all the information they learned during the school year. It is not meant to be a time where children dump all the data that they learned and trade it in for mindless activities. Studies show that children who are not academically stimulated during the summer can lose information they learned all year and be behind when the new school year comes around. This is not to suggest that you should implement a home summer school, but it is to recommend that the learning never stops. The great thing about summer vacation is that learning does not have to happen in a classroom, sitting at a desk. Here, we will discuss a few ways you can keep your kids learning this summer while they have fun and get to enjoy the break from school
Make a summer reading list.
Kids are required to read certain materials throughout the school year to learn the information for various subjects. Summer is the perfect opportunity to show your kids that reading can be fun and should be enjoyed. To keep your children motivated and excited about reading over summer break, make a summer reading list. It should include fun books at or above their current reading level and should match their interests. When your child finishes a book on the list, have them cross it off and tell you about it. If you have a child who doesn’t enjoy reading as much, you can incentivize the list (i.e. if they finish reading the book, they can watch the corresponding movie or if they finish five books, they can go to the water park). The best way to keep your kids reading is to be a good reader yourself. Set a good example by pulling out a book in the waiting room or at the pool. Set aside 20 minutes of family quiet reading time a day. Most importantly, engage your kids in conversations about the books they are reading.
Make a summer journal or scrapbook.
Having your child start a summer journal is a great idea for many reasons. From an educational standpoint, it is a way to get your kids to continue reading, writing, and using their imaginations. For you and your family, it is a great way for your kids to reflect on their summer vacation when it is time to go back to school and they cannot remember what they did. If your summer is filled with activities, encourage your child to write about each one and observations or fun facts they learned during the activity. If your summer break is not as active, have your child keep a treasure hunt scrapbook where they can collect images or keepsakes from magazines or outings and write about why the things they kept are interesting to them. To modify this for smaller children who can’t yet write, select a letter each morning and have your child point out as many words or things throughout the day that begin with the letter of the day.
Engage in a hobby or learn a new skill.
Summer break is the perfect time to get caught up on hobbies or to learn new skills. Teach your older children how to cook and follow a recipe. For younger children, help hem plant a garden or help you with chores around the house that they aren’t used to doing. Check out the local rec center or library for activities and fun learning opportunities. Local daycares, rec centers, and youth groups offer summer day camps full of new skills to learn and activities to explore.
Go on field trips.
Take your kids on field trips throughout the summer. The reason that schools host field trips are to get out of the classroom and explore active learning that cannot be sustained at schools, such as an aquarium, a botanical garden, the capital building, or a planetarium. Take the opportunity to learn and encourage learning in your children. Don’t just take in the sights, but learn from the exhibits. Field trips also help with boredom as well as allow you to explore staycation options that save money that you’d spend on traveling.
Although summer break is a chance for kids to be kids and take a rest from structured education, the learning should never stop! Get creative and set your children up for success for the new school year. Your children will appreciate the interactive activities and spending quality time with you, and you can rest assured that you haven’t let your children fall behind. If you are looking for summer learning ideas or a summer day camp in Chicago, check us out at Just For Kids, LLC. Contact us today for more information or to enroll your kids in summer camp!