Summer can either be a learning paradise or a learning wasteland. There’s much temptation for small children to watch television, play video games, or engage in other activities that add marginal value. However, with a little planning and creativity, you can transform this summer into a time to stretch the mind, explore new things and expand on the skills they’ve already learned. Here are a few simple ways to incorporate learning into your child’s summer experience:
Museum Scavenger Hunt
Turn a trip to the museum into a scavenger hunt! Some museums have their own pre-made scavenger hunts for kids but here’s an idea for creating your own:
Use a piece of paper to create a chart with different categories (shapes, colors, materials, feelings). As you walk around the museum visiting exhibits, ask your child to mark off the category boxes on their paper. The scavenger hunt theme will keep your child thinking about what they’re seeing. Whether you have one child or a large group, it’s an easy way to add learning to an ordinary day and beat the boredom blues.
Summer Reading & Storytelling
During this summer holiday, you can encourage your little one to read, independently. Even a pre-reader can flip through books so just find a creative way of encouraging them. The best way to go about this is to read with your child and stop in between to ask them what they have learned. You can also point out words and letters that your little one can recognize. After you’ve finished reading the book, you can ask your child to draw a picture of their favorite part. Involving your child in storytelling will aid them in their journey of writing and reading.
Go on a Shopping Trip
Shopping for groceries is a routine activity that is sometimes boring for children. Make it interesting by asking your child to help you pick out items, put them in the cart, and check them out at the register. While you’re selecting your groceries, engage your child in learning. You can say something like, “You like eggs”. We can have these for breakfast.” Let’s count how many eggs are in the carton”. Invite your child into the conversation and ask for their help. Show them how to place items in the cart properly by saying, “Remember to put those eggs down gently so they don’t break.”
Most children learn social and problem solving skills when they engage in games. You can play hopscotch together while you call out the numbers with each hop. Alternatively, you can play Twister together as it provides a perfect opportunity for your child to learn about different colors. You can also look for different opportunities that offer friendly challenges to your little ones.
Teach Practical Math Skills
Put your child’s math skills to work in a practical sense by allowing them to help you in the kitchen measuring ingredients. Other practical math activities include: counting up their money in a piggy banks for a special toy.
Become an Explorer
One of the most effective ways for children to get knowledge of the natural world is to encourage them to build a collection from what they discover outdoors. Go on a walk with your child looking for a specific color or shape. Children often notice pieces of nature that we take for granted. Things like rocks, plants and bugs excite young minds. When your child gets excited about a new discovery, take a moment to discuss the item.
Find a Summer Camp
Find a summer learning program or camp. Summer camps are great ways for children to make new friends, develop and refine skills, and have fun in a new environment. Look for programs offered by preschools, recreation centers, and community-based organizations, which often have an educational or enrichment focus.
Finding ways to incorporate “teachable moments” throughout summer activities is a great way to keep kids learning. A little creativity and together-time with your child go a long way. With your guidance and support, every day can be a learning adventure!