For most children, summertime is a welcomed reprieve. It’s a time for pools, splash pads, parks, barbeques, and summer vacations! With all that excitement the last thing children may want to think about is summer learning. But, summer learning doesn’t have to be a drag. There are ways to make learning fun to help decrease the summer slide. I took to Facebook to gather ideas from teachers and parents, here are the top 5 ideas:
- Figure out what your child is interested in and explore those topics together. Bring reading to life by going to do what your child is interested in. Do they like reading about baseball? Head to a Fireflies game. Are the performing arts more their speed? Check out a family-friendly show at Columbia Children’s Theatre or Town Theatre.
- Visit the Richland County Library and take part in one of their many events.
- Going on vacation? Grab a map, find the place you’re going to, and then read up on it.
- Have your child keep a summer journal. If you’re going on vacation have them write about their daily activities or favorite part of the trip. If they’re too young to write, have them draw about their day. They can tell you about their drawings and you can help them write the accompanying sentences.
- Create books about whatever they’re interested in.
3. Make Math Fun!
- Cook together. Show your child a recipe card and ask them to tell you what all the numbers mean. Measuring cups and spoons are great ways to learn about proportions and fractions. Check out this post for more cooking ideas.
- Head to the grocery store. Older children can help you find items and compare costs. Take it a step further and give them a budget, then let them estimate the total cost to see how you’re doing. Younger kids can count out the groceries as you put them away and also count and group the like items.
- Play board games. Most board games encourage math and language arts development. For example, Monopoly involves math with counting money and adding the dice. Reading is developed through the various cards and board spaces. As a bonus, board games help children learn social skills (taking turns, how to win and lose, etc.).
- Build puzzles. They help build visual-perceptual skills which are good for reading and math.
4. Get Outdoors!
- Pick something to plant and explore the growing process. Here’s a great visual if you need one.
- Go to the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. Talk about the different animals and plants you see. Pick a couple of animals and explore their natural habitat before you go to the zoo. Compare and contrast how the Columbia area is similar or different.
- Walk around your neighborhood. Talk about your environment. Is it clean or littered? If littered, talk about ways to keep it clean and then take action.
- Have your child go on a neighborhood “safari” to find as many local plants/flowers and bugs/animals as they can. Discuss their findings.
5. Make Something!
- Let your child upcycle your cardboard boxes. Check out the Cardboard Challenge for ideas.
- Encourage your child to use their imagination. Do they like inventing things? Give them some scraps or take apart something that you no longer need and let them build something. If they are natural storytellers have them create a movie or play. Let their creative side run wild. Creativity is a critical part of a child’s development.
- You can never go wrong with arts and crafts!
Learning can truly happen in a fun way, every day. Take some time to think about your daily routine and how you could turn what you normally do into a fun lesson. If you’re stuck on ideas you can always turn to workbooks, apps, and online activities.