Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Child’s Mind Active Over the Summer

by Samantha on July 9, 2014

boy reading on grass

School’s out and the kids are taking it easy. For many, the morning rush, homework and studying may now seem like distant memories. With the spectre of fun in the sun, summer camp or days filled with inordinate amounts of play on the horizon, schoolwork is one of the last things on the minds of most kids.

Yet, for parents, there’s often a fear that much of what has been learned over the school year will dissipate in the face of what the kids may view as more worthwhile activities. Let’s face it: there are competing priorities happening and as far as the kids are concerned, the fun and games are going to win.

For parents who have spent much of the year making sure that their kids are on track with their studies, there is often a fear that the summer break will “undo” all of the hard work and learning that was achieved during the previous school year. While the chance of this happening is unlikely, what is likely that kids will put much of what they’ve learned on the back burner, replacing it with more pressing pursuits.

Fortunately, the summer holidays don’t have to be a time where all learning goes by the wayside. There are many ways that parents can keep their kids on track for the coming school year without dampening the fun during the kids’ summer vacation. Parents who are interested in keeping their kids’ minds active over the summer break should check the September curriculum for their child’s upcoming grade so that they know what to expect when school starts again. Having knowledge of what will be on your child’s agenda is enough to start the ball rolling in terms of having your kids learn through the summer months. Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean that kids have to lose the momentum of learning that has been built up throughout the year.  With a little planning, children can still enjoy their summer holidays while continuing to keep their minds sharp.

Following are 5 things parents can do to keep their child’s minds active over the summer holidays:

1) Library Time - The summer months provide a great opportunity for kids to catch up on their reading or for new readers, to build their skills. To encourage a love or reading, make trips to the local library a regular occurrence. Many libraries have summer programs that are specially geared towards young readers that focus on the joy and fun that reading brings. Programs may include story time, reading in a group or incentive-based reading goals to inspire kids to pick up a book or two. For older kids, encourage them to spend a few hours at the library each week, reading for both fun and learning.

2) Outdoor “Classes” - The warm weather is the perfect backdrop for learning. Who said that schooling has to happen in a classroom? Visit your local park, have a picnic and encourage your child to kick back with a good book or learning-related materials in the great outdoors. Set up a picnic table with paper, pencils, and any workbook materials and watch your child become refocused on learning. They’ll enjoy the change of pace and will be more motivated in the new environment.

3) Fun and Games - Was your child struggling with math or spelling during the school year? Why not make it fun over the summer while encouraging learning? Playing card games that provide an opportunity to learn math or word games such Scrabble that support spelling are a great way of passing the time during the summer holiday break. Play one-on-one with your child to support and answer questions during the games so that you can focus on the areas of learning that your son or daughter needs. You can also encourage them to play these games with their friends for additional learning opportunities (and time away from screens!).

4) Science Learning - Use the great outdoors and nature as an opportunity to teach your kids some basics about science. Activities can include a nature hike with frequent stops to discuss plants, critters, bugs and anything that may cross your paths. Warm summer evenings are a great time for star-gazing and learning about the planets. As well, many cities have a local science museum that supports summer learning for kids. Check your local listings for details on child-friendly events that are available.

6) Community Events - Education doesn’t have to include classrooms and book reports. Children can often learn many important lessons through exposure to cultural and local festivals and events. Whether it’s trying a new food, learning about different cultural customs or even being exposed to a new language, attending these events will provide a great opportunity for discussion and learning. Make a plan to check out local community activities over the summer break with your kids and watch them learn while having fun.

What other suggestions do you have for keeping your child’s mind active over the summer holidays? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below!

Image courtesy of www.sheknows.com

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