Did you know that in most developed countries, kids go to school year-round? Research shows that children who don’t, lose a lot of what they learned during the summer months.
The bell rings and after a two-month hiatus, class is back in session. Introductions are made and then teachers everywhere tackle the tedious task of reviewing material taught in the previous year, most of which is lost on young minds recollecting their summer adventures. Though summer break provides students with plenty of leisure time, it falls short where intellectual stimulation is concerned. So here are 7 ways to help your little ones to learn over the summer.
1. Plan day trips for your kids.
Public libraries host summer reading programs for children that include story-telling time. Kids can get involved and ask the reader questions after each session. If your child does not particularly like to read you can also plan day trips to local factories and landmarks that might spark their interest in the specific topic. On these day trips your children can learn firsthand from chocolate factories, toy museums and gold mines!
2. Let your kids produce and perform their own plays.
For the child with a dramatic flair you might consider letting them write a screen play and acting it out. It doesn’t have to have all the pizzazz of a Broadway production. Props are easy and fun to make. You can create costumes using items you have laying around in the attic and hanging in the back of your closet or get them at your local consignment shop. The last thing you’ll need is a standing ovation so be sure to invite some friends to the show’s debut. Not only will your child improve their writing skills, their confidence will also get a huge boost!
3. Teach your kids a new craft or skill.
Embroidering, sewing, crocheting and beading all have one thing in common – they require lots of concentration! While the simple skill of concentrating on the task at hand may be may be easily overlooked it will be useful when your child must sit at a school desk for long periods of time.
4. Start a lemonade stand.
Like an oasis in the middle of the desert a summertime lemonade stand can be refreshing and instructive for your child. All they will need is a little “seed money” and a financial advisor to get them started. Instead of purchasing Chrystal Light or some other mix let your child invent a recipe and make their lemonade from scratch. It will teach them responsibility and entrepreneurial skills, not to mention the value of a dollar!
5. Turn your kitchen into a science lab.
Most people are born with either a talent for reading and writing or they’re gifted in math and science. There are of course a few exceptions, but generally speaking you fall into one of these two categories. For those that find themselves in the latter group science experiments can be a fun way to learn over the summer. There are dozens of Web sites online that offer experiment ideas using recycled items or things you can find around the house. Click here for great experiment ideas.
6. Encourage your kids to learn another language.
Summer vacation is not long enough for your child to become fluent in any language but by laying a foundation you can spark their interest as well as give them a greater respect for different cultures. Don’t worry about verb conjugation, simply tackle the basics. If you are not familiar with any foreign languages it’s a great way for you to further your own knowledge as well! Just visit your library for language resources like videos and CDs, or buy a language-learning kit from a bookstore.
7. Volunteer at a local non-profit organization.
There are some things that you cannot expect your children to learn in a classroom – sympathy, meekness and charitableness are learned at home. If there is no greater love than to give oneself for another, then volunteering for a good cause is an excellent example of love. Let your kids choose the organization and join them as they develop these admirable traits.