Homework is the last thing kids want to do during summer break. Discover how to sneak in lessons that focus on reading, motor skills, math and science. If you play it right, your kids will never know they’re learning.
Summer school gets cool
At the end of the school year, teachers gently prod you with plenty of reminders to keep students sharp over the summer. Try explaining that to your kids. Instead of fighting over summer homework, sneak it in using fun lessons. Learn how to enforce reading, motor skills, math and science during summer break.
Make words fun
Unless you have a book lover on your hands, it may be difficult to meet recommended summer reading goals. Make reading part of your daily routine as often as you can. Have your child help you read grocery lists. Pick up age-appropriate comic books and manga. Encourage video games that require reading skills. Reward reading time using a chart that gives kids a chance to accumulate points to earn prizes such as fun outings. Take older kids shopping to buy a swanky summer journal for writing time. If your kid wants to see a popular movie that’s based on a book, reward him for reading the book first. Work on a family summer project together by printing pictures of your activities and creating a scrapbook with captions.
Practice motor skills
Fine motor skills help kids succeed with handwriting and other tasks at school. Gross motor skills help kids succeed with sports and general coordination. Both should be addressed over the summer whether your child struggles with these skills or not. Promote fine motor skills with craft activities like beading, twisting nuts and bolts together, and building with Legos. Work on gross motor skills at the playground, through group sports, lessons such as karate or gymnastics, or by heading to the pool. Encourage your children to unplug from video games and handheld devices as much as possible.
Get sharp with math
While summer reading might seem appealing to some kids, math is a harder sell. Begin by giving kids an allowance. Talk about how the money will accumulate and discuss how to spend and save while inviting kids to help do the sums. Add some math drill apps to your smartphone for car rides and downtime. Encourage older kids to play games that involve math skills, such as competitive deck-based games. Get cooking with your kids. Recipes help kids with measurements and addition, as well as encouraging accurate direction-following.
If you can swing it, one of the most exciting ways to teach science over the summer is to visit a children’s museum. For older kids, try visiting a science or space museum. Look for camps that emphasize engineering or marine biology. Many parks and preserves offer free summer programs to introduce children to ecosystems and local wildlife. On rainy days, break out some mad science in the kitchen. Try making your own play dough or using a book like The Everything Kids’ Science Experiment Book ($8.95) to create your own laboratory at home.
More summer fun