As a teacher, I always give parents ways to avoid the “summer slide” with their kids. What exactly is the summer slide? It is the temporary setback some children experience in their learning over the summer. Now, summer is absolutely a time for kids to enjoy life, relax, and take a break from the daily routine of school! I’m a firm believer in this. However, it can only help your child’s education to encourage them to learn something new over the summer.
Here are some fun, educational things you can do with your kids this summer…and they may not even realize they’re learning something at the same time!
Science, science, science
My go-to website for ALL ideas is Pinterest. Type “science experiments for kids” in the search bar, and you will immediately have hundreds of ideas of fun, messy, science-y things to do with your kids, such as this list. Favorites at our house are making a tornado in a jar, making ooblek, and doing nature walk scavenger hunts. If your family has a garden, there is your science! Kids can learn how a seed becomes a plant, which plants go in your climate, etc. Your possibilities are endless!
Read, read, read
Again, Pinterest is loaded with ideas to keep kids reading over the summer. Our school posted a “reading bingo” game for students to use. It has different places to read, different genres to try, different audiences to read to (i.e. your dog). Here’s an example. As the kids complete a task, they mark off a square. They can turn in the completed bingo card for a reward. Brilliant! Our local library has a summer reading program for kids to do. Again, a completed list of books earns them a free book pick from the used book store. Check your local library for similar programs. My kids and I are going to take advantage of the Free Little Libraries that are popping up around town. See if there are some in your neighborhood. If your child isn’t reading extensively yet, read to them or find books on CD (also available for checkout at the library).
STEM, STEM, STEM
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. Essentially, STEM curriculum integrates all of these disciplines into all lessons. Again, the internet is packed with ideas for STEM challenges for kids. My son particularly loves this challenge with Legos.
Go, go, go
My husband jokes that his family spent their summers visiting all places that end with –ums: museums, planetariums, aquariums, etc. (Disney World didn’t end with –ums!). They also spent time reading and discussing the description of each exhibit. Each family member had to pick one exhibit to “teach” to the others. Brilliant! Check out the local –ums in your city. Often, they’ll have a free- or half-price-admission days. Be sure to look at the website for pricing and planning before you go. Print off the map and have each person pick a “must see” exhibit. That way, you aren’t wandering and wasting time.