Did you know if you don’t keep your children actively learning all summer they can have something called summer slide? According to the Department of Education’s blog Homeroom, this loss of learning “happens when children do not engage in educational activities during the summer months.”
Keeping your children involved in fun educational activities is the perfect way to help keep that brain active. You don’t have to create lesson plans, or print out hundreds of worksheets. Here are some ideas of activities you can do with your children to keep them learning all summer (but are also super easy and fun to do!).
Its Hot! Indoor Ideas
The library is an amazing place to go to get out of the house. Area libraries such as Richland and Lexington County Library Systems have summer reading programs. They also have weekly programs such a Lego groups and story times. Reading is one of the easiest ways to keep that brain going. You can also take the reading level your teacher left off with in the previous grade, and challenge your child by working on the next level up. Many books purchased from book fairs include the reading level. Your librarian is also a great resource. Be sure to check out the other summer reading programs around the Midlands.
Have an older child who doesn’t want to go to a story time? Introduce them to the super “grown up” idea of a book club. Pick a book you know is popular. Schedule a weekly meeting with other parents to have your kids meet up. Come prepared with some questions they can ask each other. Also, allow for open discussion. You would be shocked what the older kids come up with.
Going on vacation soon? Why not make it a geography/history/math lesson? Have your older children do some research on the town you are visiting. Ask them to present to you, or write a short essay. For the little ones, make a fun fact sheet about the town you are visiting. Show them pictures of features in the town. Have them point them out when you get there. See if they can repeat what you went over.
If your trip is some distance you can make a math lesson out of it too. Have them calculate the distance to your location. Ask them math questions like, “If you go 65 mph how long till we get there?”
Remember when we used to say “Why do I have to learn math?” By now you have probably realized why we were stuck in that classroom. A great way to use math in your home is by having your child participate in the kitchen. Any age can participate. The younger ones may not know fractions, but you can always explain to them why you used two 1/4 cups instead of a 1/2 cup. Fractions are introduced very early in elementary school. You can create a problem for older kids and have them solve the problem. An example would be “I need 1 cup of sugar, how many 1/4 cups do I need to make one cup?”
Get Them Outdoors!
Nature in your own Backyard
Scavenger Hunts are a fun way to get your children outside, while learning about science and nature. Think of your backyard, what could your children find? Make a list with pictures, send them out to find those items. If you have older kiddos, make it a biology lesson. Do some research and include fun facts about what they found.
Become One with Nature at your Park
There are so many beautiful parks around us. Many of them include nature programs. Congaree has a weekly nature walk. While this walk may be for the older ones, I bet any age would benefit from being outdoors and learning about their surroundings. The South Carolina State Parks have many resources to help engage your child with nature.
Plant a Garden
It may be a little late to plant a vegetable garden, but what about flowers? Plant flowers and late season vegetables in your child’s very own garden. Make sure they are responsible for raising those plants. Learn about the process of growth from seed to plant. The pride on a child’s face from growing a garden is priceless!
Your own Driveway
Do yourself a favor and go to your local store and buy sidewalk chalk. Kids of all ages can create fun pictures on your driveway. Make a hopscotch course with numbers. Have your children solve math problems while hopping. Example, “Start at the number one. If you hop to the number 3 how many numbers are you going up?” or “If you are on 4, and hop back to 2, how many do you lose?” If your child is in the early grades, you can spell out sight words for them to sound out.
You don’t have to be a teacher to educate your child. Have fun, be engaged, make memories … and they’ll continue to learn all summer long.