For most, the school year is over and summer awaits. What can you do with your kids so that they won’t forget everything they learned and have a head start when they return back to school? Well, there are many exciting learning activities and games for the summer months that can keep children of all ages on track academically. It is important to allow children the opportunity to break away a little from the day to day studies and lessons that they experience throughout the school year during the summer months, but that does not mean that they should be permitted to stray completely from their studies. There are several games and activities that can allow children to enjoy their break from school while conveniently sharpening their academic skills as well! Here I will share some of the creative approaches to learning in an enjoyable fashion in June, July, and August!
First of all, with summer, there is a whole world outside to explore. Go on nature trips with your child. Even just going into your backyard or to a park can be exciting. Don’t forget to bring a pair a binoculars, and if you have one, a kids camera. Play a game with your child and see who can find the most different animals, insects etc. Keep a log during the summer of what you found. When you get home, either go to your computer, or better yet plan a trip to your library, to learn more about the creatures you found. To make things more interesting, create a summer scrapbook, include pictures, drawings and information about all the critters you and your child learned about.
Is your child a pre-reader, or just beginning to learn to read? One of the single most important lessons that children in this age group will experience is their introduction to what many refer to as “sight words”. These are words that are supposed to be immediately recognized by a reader, without the issue of decoding the sounds of the words based on the spelling. You could look at these words as those that are most commonly used in the English language. Examples include words such as “and”, “big”, “go”, “the”, “he”, “she”, “you”, “come”, “look”, “have”, “no”, “on”, “said”, there”, and others. If you are seeking to make reading entertaining, there is a board game that is suitable for children in the pre-reading and beginning level reading stage of their progression. It is called “Er-u-di-tion”. For this product check out: http://www.sightwordsgame.com/ .
Do you have a child that is struggling with math? Is your child one of those that finds math “boring”? If so, there are many unique exciting learning activities and games for the summer months available. One of the easiest and probably the most exciting activities that you can encourage your child in is cooking. You may permit them to assist you in developing a family menu, and/or encourage them to create one meal a week for the family – whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a snack! Children will learn the importance of certain measurements, basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even geometrical fractions! The best part is, most kids that engage in the cooking in the home do not even realize that the parent’s ulterior motive is instilling important mathematical concepts in order to sharpen their math skills!
If you live in an area that is typically affected by natural disasters, you could create a summer learning program that focuses on educating your child on the proper preparation involved in the event of an emergency. Typical natural disasters in the United States may include but are not limited to:
• Winter Storms
Activities that can be done include the following:
1. Preparation – If you are a family that could be affected by a natural disaster, it is important to ensure that you have an emergency kit. One of the best methods to teach children about emergency kits is to have a scavenger hunt. Provide them with a list of items that should be included in a basic emergency kit like water, medicine, first aid supplies, can food, and similar items of interest. Provide them with a back pack and hide items such as bottled water, an empty medicine bottle, a box of band-aides, and even can food. Have them take the list to locate as many items as possible. Have special prizes for children that successfully create an emergency kit for the natural disasters that affect their living area.
2. Education – Education is a core element when it comes to properly preparing for emergency situations. It has been found that we learn up to 98% of what we teach. You could create an assignment where your child must create a report on the natural disaster(s) that affect their area and then have them present the information in front of family, friends, and neighbors. Inform those that will be listening to ask several questions. The experience will be very educational for not only the child, but for all that attend the presentation.
3. Movies – If you live in an area that is commonly affected by natural disasters, such as hurricanes, instruct your child to create a movie with some fun facts about the issues. There are many pictures on the internet that highlight major disasters. Teach them how to save those pictures to a folder and implement the use of the “Windows Movie Maker” that is in Windows XP and Windows Vista. Allow them to add titles, headings, facts, credits, and music if they life! Then, burn final project on a DVD. This can be truly educational and exciting as well!
Do you have a child that could learn a little more about people, and ways that they contribute positively in the lives of others? If so, you may enjoy incorporating a summer activity of volunteering. Volunteering could be done in many different ways. It could be at a church, a nursing home, a hospital, or a soup kitchen. It can even be done in and around the home, as well as the neighborhood that the child lives in. It is important for children of all ages to learn more about their roles as citizens, neighbors, friends, and people in general. It is important that they know and understand that the feelings associated with helping another and a job well done is often more rewarding than that of a monetary award.
As you can see from the information contained here, there are many exciting learning games and activities for the summer months that your child can enjoy and reap the benefits from. Children are quite flexible when it comes to learning particular concepts whether related to intelligence or emotional intelligence. As a parent, there is a lot of room for being versatile in the activities that you encourage your children to indulge in. Remember; just keep it entertaining so that it retains the overall interest of your child!