Summer Learning Activities to Keep Your Kids’ Minds Active

Summer Learning Activities to Keep Your Kids' Minds Active

Photo Credit: ulkas / iStockPhoto.com

Make Learning Fun

Every year, teachers, students and parents look forward to summer vacation and all the fun and freedom it offers. While it’s appealing to just do nothing during the summer and let your kids play, when they return to school in the fall they may have difficulty recalling the previous year’s material.

This is a real phenomena called the summer slide, which can be avoided with the proper preparation. This doesn’t have to consist of making your kids sit down for an hour a day and do review worksheets or sending them to a tutor to get ahead on next year’s material, though.

Summer is a great opportunity to get your kids engaged in alternative methods of learning. As long as it’s keeping their minds stimulated and makes them use skills they’ll need in the regular school year, it’s just as valuable as any formal worksheet.

By getting your kids involved in these summer learning activities, you’ll prevent frustration on both your part and your kids’ when they move on to the next grade level.

Get Them Reading

In order for your child to progress on an academic level, they need to keep up with their reading. Kids are tested on their reading skills every year so it’s important they continue to read for pleasure over the summer.

Encourage them to read books beyond their grade level, which will give them a leg up on vocabulary and comprehension skills. For more incentive, start a competition among family members to see who can read the most books.

If your family is not of the competitive persuasion, try joining a summer reading program or book club at the library. Kids will often get rewarded with stickers, medals, or free food for their progress.

This is also a chance of kids to read books they want to read, instead of following set books from the curriculum. Encourage them to find some new favorites!

Take Educational Trips

Most schools take children on educational field trips during the school year, but you can take them on trips of your own during the summer, too. Aside from taking them someplace they’ve never been before — like a foreign country or even another state — day trips to museums, nature centres and cultural events will keep their minds sharp.

Try to tie in what they learned that year to what kind of trip you take. If they learned about ecosystems, try a nature preserve or national park. If they delved into a specific historical era, museums are a great resource for visualizing that information.

Regardless of where you go, though, there is always the opportunity to learn new things. Day trips are a great opportunity to foster in them a sense of wonder and get them to ask questions no matter where they are.

They’ll soon realize on their own that they can discover new things everywhere.

Plan a Game Night

Game night at home can be both fun and educational. Games encourage critical thinking, problem solving and often require some sort of basic math skill.

Choose interactive games that can be played with multiple people. Children learn well by watching others first and may learn something new just by seeing how another person reacts to the same situation.

If you are aware of your child’s particular strengths or skills in one area, pick a game that will keep them interested while also allowing them to improve their skills or learn something new.

Enroll in Specialty Camps

If your child has developed an interest in a particular area, you might consider enrolling them in a specialty camp suited to their interest. Only a small amount of time is devoted to specific subjects in school, but camps go into greater depth and allow children to truly explore what they like.

Aside from the basics of any camp, which includes field trips and indoor/outdoor playtime, specialty camps have kids work on a specific project or performance. There are camps for just about anything these days, from sports and drama, to computers and photography.

Even if you can’t afford to send your kids to sleepaway camp or keep them enrolled for a whole summer, even a week long camp will encourage their growth and learning capabilities.

Cook Together

Math skills are usually the first to go during the summer months. To cement the concepts your kids learned during the year, they’ll need to practice math in a functional way.

Sure you could bore them to death with worksheets and flashcards, but you could alternatively put their knowledge to use in real world scenarios. Cooking is a great way to demonstrate the magic of math.

Not only are you adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, you’re using fractions and learning conversions as well. Cooking also teaches kids what things are made of and how they react with one another.

Knowledge of recipes will allow children to experiment with ingredients and figure out what they like and why they like it, improving their decision-making skills.

Talk to Them

Hopefully this is an obvious way to keep your kids learning, but make sure you take the time to talk to them. You are a wealth of knowledge and very often they will have questions about something they learned in school or heard about elsewhere.

Discuss current events with them and ask them how they feel about certain things and why. The more they engage with adults, the better they’ll be able to grasp more difficult concepts and understand the world around them.

Resources

Babble (13 Teacher-Recommended Ways to Keep Kids Learning This Summer)

K5 Learning (Keep Your Kids Learning Over the Summer)

Part-Time Nanny (16 Ways to Be Sure Your Kids Keep Learning Over Summer Break