When summer rolls around, kids are ready for fun, not just learning! They probably think you’re going to freak out and make them read 100 books or something, so they don’t have mush for brains when they go back to school. While some will embrace this idea, others will rebel – that’s when it’s time to bring in the big guns. By big guns, I mean creative and FUN ways to learn!
First thing’s first: turn the TV off! This is the biggest distraction of all and if you want them to get moving turning off the TV is a must!
Get Creative! Instead of handing them a book and telling them to go read it, get creative! Whether you take turns reading, read with an accent, or do a project-based book report, let the kids take the lead on this one. They’ll let you know what they like, and you can make sure it stays educational!
Reading Programs! Sign up for the summer reading program at your local library. When there’s a reward attached to reading, even the most reluctant readers are willing to give it a try.
Give experiences rather than “things”. Instead of buying a bunch of stuff this summer, take your kids on day trips to the local museum. There are usually free days for museums and national parks, so check those out before shelling out the dough. Even if you don’t have a national park nearby, I bet you have a city park. Do a scavenger hunt at the park!
Build and create together! When you have to be indoors, make the most of your time by building forts, playing with blocks (tiny LEGOs for older kids, super helpful with math and even architecture), and cooking together. Measuring flour and sugar for recipes is a great way to use math skills as well as homemaking skills.
Take the kids grocery shopping! While it doesn’t look like a ton of fun at first glance, it most definitely can be! It’s important that everyone learns how to grocery shop, so let the kiddos help you out – from start to finish. Make a menu plan, then a grocery list. Drive to the grocery store (bonus if you have them calculate mileage, gas, etc!), have them help you price match or find the lowest price, and if you bring a calculator, have them add sales tax before you get to the register to see if they calculated correctly!
Make shopping fun! Before you start shopping, you can also look at the list and each “guesstimate” how much the entire bill will be. This will keep you from buying things that are not on the list, too! Once you’re finished shopping, the kids can help you unload the groceries. While they probably already know where most things go, you can explain to them why the fruit goes in one crisper and the ice cream goes in the freezer.
Sing together! Whether you’re rapping multiplication tables or singing the song about the 50 states, singing is fun and can be educational as well. Some kids enjoy writing lyrics in notebooks. This helps with memorization of the songs as well as handwriting and spelling practice.
Take a road trip! You can take a weekend trip or just a day trip, but have the kids help plan it all out. From mileage to gas costs; from food costs to time it will take to get there and back. They can even help plan a “schedule” for activities, and figure out how much those will cost as well. Set a budget and have them put everything together without going over. If the trip is under budget, they get to put the rest in their savings accounts!
It’s Summer! At the end of the day, remember that it’s summer! Kids learn naturally by using their imaginations. Even if their noses aren’t stuck in a book, they will be learning – even if you don’t realize it right away! Some of my best memories are those summer breaks where there wasn’t much structure but still plenty of learning.
What are you doing to keep the kids learning all summer?