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10 Ways to avoid summer vacation boredom

Carolyn Rahaman is a professional SSAT tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She holds a Master's degree in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.

Ensure your child avoids boredom this summer, and learns a little something as well, with these fun and interesting learning activities.

mother and daughter gardening

Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/360/Getty Images

Soon enough, your child will be on summer vacation. While excitement takes over at first, the novelty of her freedom tends to drain with each passing hour. Then, you hear it: "I'm bored." You close your eyes, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it is too early in the summer to lose your composure. Your child requires something to keep herself occupied, and if she ends up learning a little something in the process, perfect.

Skills workshop

Students may not want to learn over the summer, but perhaps there is a sought-after skill they wish they had that can tempt them into it. They can learn CSS and have the best Tumblr around. They can start to teach themselves French, or the ukulele, or juggling or Morse code. All of these options reinforce strong study habits and research skills. Some workshops may even be available online to help with these goals.

Reading

Visit a library. Many libraries maintain book clubs and offer events for children. You can likewise create a personal book club or set a family challenge, such as reading a certain number of books over the summer.

Crafts

This is a time-honored summer activity. Locate your glitter glue and construction paper, and allow your student free range. Children can exercise creativity with minimal materials, but specialized crafts may include bead melting, crocheting, knitting etc.

Sculpture

There are a multitude of sculpture options to choose from depending on your budget and how much effort your child wishes to expend. Children can use clay, LEGOs, papier-mache, Play-Doh, Super Sculpey or simply glue and popsicle sticks.

Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is a relaxed version of National Novel Writing Month that is more accessible to young students. It is a true challenge to pen a creative work in a month, but encouragement and suggestions are invaluable. Can your student reach this lofty goal?

Gardening

Enjoy the outdoors. Plan and plant a garden, then care for it regularly. This requires responsibility and dedication. Can your child entice butterflies to visit? Can she grow things that your family can later eat?

Pressed leaf collections

Challenge your child to collect samples of as many different plants as she can, then press them and arrange them in a notebook. Can she identify all the specimens?

Museum trips

Travel to a conservatory, museum or zoo. It is entertaining for everyone, as well as replete with learning opportunities.

Chess

Becoming a better chess player requires practice and study. It also requires logical thinking. Chess can improve planning skills, memory and concentration. Plus, children tend to enjoy sharing their victories. (Consider the game "Go" for a similar alternative.) There are online versions or apps that your child can play as well.

Puzzles

Puzzles can improve knowledge of spatial relations and logical reasoning skills. Large jigsaw puzzles, when spread over the kitchen table, can involve the entire family. There are also books of logic puzzles like Sudoku. My personal favorite is Pic-a-Pix, which incorporates art.

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit www.varsitytutors.com.

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