Learning On Long Days
Summer vacation is fun, but it actually has a negative effect on a child's learning, unless parents are proactive about offering enriching activities to their children. The good news is that you don't have to break the bank or lose your sanity to come up with fun educational activities for your kids this summer.
Create a book
Maybe it's because I was kind of quiet as a kid ("eccentric," "without friends"), but I spent many a summer day writing my own short stories. Kids who are encouraged to imagine their own stories, even if they're lucky enough to have real friends, can benefit from writing short books. Supply art supplies to your junior author to boost the fun quotient.
Go on a scavenger hunt
Aside from the fact that they're just plain fun, scavenger hunts are challenging and engage a child's critical-thinking skills. Instead of just providing your child with a list of items to find, give him or her a list of clues. This will encourage your child to think about their tasks rather than just compile a bunch of paper clips, crayons or toilet paper rolls.
Integrate Duplos into reading activities
Check out this Duplo website that integrates building block activities with age-appropriate children's books. Interacting playfully with your kids as you read and build helps make literacy fun.
Develop a puppet show
If you don't have any puppets, that's OK. Your child can make sock puppets and a cardboard puppet show stage as part of the fun. Encourage your child to come up with character traits for each of the puppets, and help her to create a play with a beginning, middle, climax and ending.
Visit the zoo
If you have a little fledgling biologist residing in your home, take her to the zoo. Check out this zoo curriculum website to enhance the zoo experience with interactive games and activity pages.
Build a fort
Architectural activities are a great way to encourage your youngster to use spatial reasoning and geometry skills. You can follow a fort-building guide if you were born without spatial reasoning skills, or you can toss a bunch of supplies out the back door and tell the kids to get after it.
Host an at-home science camp
You probably already own everything you need to create a science lab in your home. Go to the Exploratorium website for activity ideas--there are enough science activities available to fill up a whole summer's worth of camp.
Teach fractions through cooking
When sitting down with a math book to learn fractions, it's important to have fun. Just kidding. Sitting down to learn fractions is terrible. But there is one area of the house where fractions are consistently used — the kitchen! Teach fractions to your kids while you prepare a recipe together. This website has recipes with fractions to help you on your mission.
Paint a landscape
Have your child pick out his favorite book, and ask him to find his favorite picture in the book. Ask him why that particular picture is his favorite, and see if he can recreate it with painting and art supplies. Boom. Reading, speech and art in one simple activity.
Participate in story time
Call your local library to determine if they have either a summer reading program or a summer story time for your child. Most local libraries have events sprinkled throughout the summer, and many are free of cost.
More family fun