Don't Buy Those Curriculum Activity Books Yet... 5 Ways to Boost Summer Learning and Still Have Summer FUN!
Let's go down memory lane for a moment here...
Images of kids running out of school, throwing their school work into the air as summer vacation begins. You may even start singing Alice Coopers 'Schools Out' song -- No more school, no more home work, kids get to do what they want for two months! Wahoo!
Remember those days? Carefree summers of playing sports, playing with friends, and going on vacations. Boy oh boy, those were the days!
We want to help make sure that those memories of fun summers continue on..
Don't let the words summer slide, brain drain, summer learning loss, make you think that it's impossible for your child to have an enjoyable summer and keep up their skills at the same time!
Yes, the studies can be a touch shocking when they are reporting that in the summer kids can lose about one month of overall learning, two months of reading skills, and that teachers can spend up to six weeks re-teaching old material that was lost in the summer months. It sounds scary and alarming. We know. But don't despair! And definitely don't buy those curriculum activity books just yet! It's actually a lot easier than you think to keep 'em smiling and skilled in time for September. Enjoy those precious months of sunshine, warmth and family memories. They're worth more than anything else!
You don’t have to sacrifice your summer plans in order to keep your child’s skills sharp.
Five Ways to Boost Summer Learning While Still Having Summer Fun
Keep them reading
Everything in this list is helpful, however if you only have time to do one thing, do this. Reading feeds into nearly everything else, is one of the most practical and useful skills, and it can be done anywhere. Read to them, have them read to you, read signs, newspapers, road signs, menus, instructions, anything, story books, chapter books, comic books, anything. Anything that comes up and is of interest, take it! Reading for 20-30 minutes at bedtime, in the car, all at once or throughout the day will help your child to continue to expand their vocabulary, grow their knowledge and questions about the world, and will help keep their academic skills progressing.
Let them experience real life mathematics
Plan a budget for a weekend camping trip and shop together. Read maps, figure out distance and time, divide food equally, follow recipes, measure ingredients, figure out money spent and change. Get them using their math skills in real life situations as often as possible. This will help reinforce what they’ve learned, help them make a connection (maybe even question!) how to do other skills and can bring real value to practising math skills.
Ask them as many questions as they ask you
If you're planning a trip to the zoo, do some research ahead of time to learn more about some of the animals and where they came from. If you're heading to the beach, look up some strategies on how to make a drool-worthy sandcastle. Ask them, 'Why do you think that?" "How does this work?" "Where would we find out that information?" Get them thinking about the world around them, but more importantly, instil the idea that they have the power to learn to about the world around them. All they need is an interest, a question, and someone like you to help them out.
Keep them active and outside
To keep the mind sharp you have to make sure the body is staying active. Try new activities! Go for a hike! Spend the day at the beach! All of these things keep us moving, keep us exploring, teach us new skills, and inspire our whole bodies to grow. Let alone the memories you'll make! Maybe even give logrolling a try! Try something new this summer. There are so many things to do outdoors and many of them are free or cost very little. You never know, a new family favourite activity could be discovered!
Have fun and let children be children
Let's be honest, the summertime is supposed to be laid back and fun. The last thing we would want to suggest is that you take all the fun out of it by over-planning or overdoing it on any end. Life truly is about balance. With all of our suggestions above try to incorporate as much excitement and ‘fun’ into the activities as possible, but also remember to relax and let the moments happen on their own. Learning honestly is so natural, that if we push too hard, we can take all the fun out of it to begin with. Children naturally want to learn about the world, but will take in more and make something of what they've learned if they get to experience it, usually, on their own terms. So, let them run. Let them play. Let them explore. Let them ask questions. Let them experience summer.
Be sure to follow Via Vita Academy this summer on Facebook and Twitter. Every Sunday, we’ll set a new weekly Summer Brain Gain Challenge to encourage everyone to have fun while learning this summer!
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