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Having Fun (and Learning) on Summer Break

Jul 3

Having Fun (and Learning) on Summer Break
 

Worried about your child falling behind over summer break? Don’t want to waste a great opportunity for your child to continue learning and growing mentally and emotionally? Then help turn your child’s summer break into a fun, activity-filled opportunity.

It’s definitely important to still give your child free time throughout the summer. A big part of healthy development comes from rigorous activity, social interaction, and yes, playtime. But if your child is spending more than an hour or two each day in front of the television set, you may want to suggest these alternative activities to get your child up and moving and most importantly — thinking.

Don’t try to overwhelm your child with a strict schedule or demanding to-do list. Instead, make a list of activities and post it somewhere your child can find it when bored, like on the refrigerator or coffee table.

Suggested summer activities:

  • Ride bikes to the local library — check out some new books or attend a free program
  • Papier mache a volcano — add vinegar and baking soda to create an eruption
  • Visit educational websites — such as Freshbrain and Exploratorium
  • Play educational board games or card games that involve math — find them online or at the toy store
  • Get a tutor for the summer — your child can get one-on-one assistance or tutoring in a small group with friends
  • Take the Scholastic Summer Challenge — earn rewards for reading books
  • Take charge of the grocery list — record prices of common items and add them up to determine how much each trip will cost
  • Learn to cook a meal — whether it’s spaghetti or frozen pizzas, you can use math and reasoning to help prepare lunch or dinner
  • Get out in the garden — help research, plant, and maintain a vegetable garden in the backyard
  • Papier mache a piñata — do it in time for your neighborhood’s block party
  • Learn about composting — set up a “worm factory” or just start a cold compost pile for next year
  • Build a bird house or bird feeder — adult supervision required with power tools!
  • Learn about science with an electronics or circuit board kit — find one online or at a science store
  • Conduct an experiment — take a cue from Pavlov and try to discover if your dog can remember sounds: blow a whistle every day before meals and record your findings
  • Film a documentary  — borrow Mom & Dad’s video camera and record the daily habits of birds or a day in the life of your pet

Many of these activities can be done by your child with little or no adult supervision. Just remember to set aside extra time during the week to interact with your child, who is getting significantly less attention and feedback from adults during the summer months. Plan weekend trips to the zoo, museums, historical sights, monuments, and nature walks whenever possible. You and your child will be having so much fun you’ll forget that you’re helping your child learn.

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