Summer is here and the kids are thrilled to be out of school. Even the little ones are not immune to the excitement of summer freedom. While they look forward to endless days of playing outside and swimming in the pool, parents worry about how much of what they learned this year will be lost in the summer haze. Research has shown that children retain a lot of what they learn during the school year, yet there is some validity to the idea that some ground is lost over the summer. Summer learning activities can be great way for children to continue gaining knowledge.
Organized camps and summer programs are one option to keep children learning, but there are also activities that you can do at home with the family that will provide educational opportunities that are also fun.
Whether your child hasn’t started reading on their own or has just begun to get the hang of it, it is important for them to learn that reading isn’t just meant for school. Reading is one of the most important skills to maintain and develop.
Check with your local library. Many offer summer reading programs that are age appropriate. Children can pick out books they like either for story time, to read aloud, or to enjoy on their own. This will help them learn to love reading while growing their vocabulary. Even if they cannot actually read just yet, looking at the pictures and listening to someone else read can instill the desire to learn.
Incorporate reading into your summer activities at home. Reading to your children each day establishes a positive association in their mind and makes them excited to read on their own.Talk to your librarian about what summer learning activities she suggests, and what books she would recommend for your child or for your family to read together.
Planting a garden with your child and watching how things grow is a great way to teach them the basics of science. Begin with seeds or small plants and explain that plants need water, air, sunlight and nutrients to thrive.
Gardening provides children with the opportunity to play in the dirt while creating something of their own. In the process, they will learn about the life cycle of plants and the importance of nutrition. Vegetables are especially fun and educational as your child will learn where food comes from and get to eat the end product.
To make it even more fun, grow something big like a pumpkin, a melon or a giant squash. They will get to watch it grow and look forward to eventually picking it from the garden.
Start a Collection
This can be a fun way for your child to learn about nature. They often find a bug or a rock that catches their attention and want to hang on to it and show it off. This is the natural beginning of a collection.
Whatever interests them, be it leaves, flowers, bugs or rocks, take part in the gathering process with them. Make a game out it and get a book from the library that relates to their interests. Help them identify the different types of items in their collection.
The act of building the collection and then identifying it will be a fun summer activity for you to share that combines nature, science and reading.
Introduction to History
A family vacation can be a great summer learning activity as well. Include historical landmarks and museums in your vacation. This is a great opportunity for them to begin learning about history. Before the visit, get a book from the library and teach them about what they are going to see.
Summer is when we often visit family and friends that live in other cities and states. This type of trip can seem like a journey around the world to a small child. They will naturally want to explore and learn about their destination. When visiting relatives they seldom see, they will also have an opportunity to learn some family history.
If your family isn’t going to be traveling during the summer months, visit local landmarks and museums. Let them learn the history of where they live, giving them a greater appreciation of their home town.
While an extended stay summer camp may not be appropriate for younger children, day camp programs are great. Many daycare centers and preschools offer such programs, as well as community centers and local churches.
Day camps provide children with fun summer learning activities. Some summer camp programs focus on certain areas of interest such as science, music or swimming. Others combine multiple interests, giving a child the opportunity to explore and discover their passion.
In addition to learning new things and having fun, children attending summer camp programs are interacting with other children and developing their social skills.
Make Summer Learning Activities Fun
However you decide to keep your child learning this summer, remember the summer season should be fun. If they find the learning activities entertaining as well as educational, their love of learning will continue to grow.
Home Away From Home Academy day camps provide fun summer learning activities. Our programs offer an opportunity to fine-tune your child’s skills and expand their horizons. Contact us today and learn how we can encourage your child to learn all summer long.