*I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because my kids aren’t old enough to proof-read for me yet. I like to write but grammar isn’t my strong point. My apologies to my high school English teachers; I know you tried your best!
It’s summer! While I don’t really feel the need to stick to the same vacation schedule as the local schools, I did grow up going to public school and so it’s a bit hard to get out of the “it’s supposed to be summer vacation” mindset.
We have been taking things slow ever since Gabriel was born so I really don’t think we can just stop school for the summer. Based on the research that tells us how much a child is likely to forget over the course of the summer, I don’t think I’d want to anyway. However, I do want to keep taking things easy and allow for summer fun. Our house isn’t air conditioned so I know that we won’t want to be doing a lot of school work when we’re melting. Here are some ideas for keeping kids learning through the summer.
Go on a nature walk. Bring along binoculars or a magnifying glass. You can even bring along a bird watching guide! If you have walking trails in your area you might be able to find animal tracks. Talk about how plants grow, different kinds of weather, animal habitats, or compare different kinds of leaves. Watch ants carry their loads or a spider spin a web. If you have a camera that you allow your kids to use they can take pictures and make a nature collage.
Take a Field Trip
You don’t have to go somewhere far away or expensive for a learning experience. You can call your local post office and see if they’ll let your children watch the mail being sorted. There might be a farm or ranch near-by that you can visit. You can go berry-picking! Check your city or township for a list of attractions in your area for more local ideas.
Head to the library.
I probably don’t even have to suggest this but don’t forget about your local library! They often have summer reading programs for kids so make sure to ask your library about any summer programs they have for kids. If you don’t have air conditioning in your home the library is a great place to get some cool air in the middle of a hot day. Kids can pick out books that interest them and you can find some great read alouds, as well as a book or two for yourself! I think this summer I’m going to start implementing a mandatory reading time in the middle of the day.
Puzzles are great for getting your mind in gear and kids enjoy them! Jigsaw puzzles are great for kids of all ages, and for adults as well. Older children might enjoy word search, crossword, fill-it-in, or sudoku puzzles. You can even have your children make their own puzzle by gluing a magazine or calender picture onto some cardboard then cutting it into pieces. If they want to get really crafty, they can use one of their own drawings, instead!
Get your creative juices flowing with art supplies! An extra summer bonus? You can take them outside so that you have less mess in the house!
I learned the hard way that leaving crayons outside on really hot days is enough to melt them. Instead of turning on the oven to make homemade crayons in the summer, just leave them in the molds outside on a hot summer day!
Want to make some sidewalk paint? Just combine equal parts of cornstarch and water then add a few drops of food colouring. Have fun!
There are many other ways of keeping your child’s brain active during the summer even if you don’t want to break out the textbooks. What ideas do you have?