Summer break is often met with excitement from students and sighs from parents. Even though the days will be filled with sun, water, extra sleep, and memorable vacations, there is always that nagging concern about making the most of the time off. While students do not want to see another textbook or math problem until September, many parents worry that their children will be at a disadvantage when school starts, having forgotten everything they learned the prior year. If you want to keep your kids sharp and ready for the next school year, here are some ways you can keep the students in your house engaged over the summer break.
Head to the Library
One of the best things you can encourage your child to do over the summer is read. You don’t have to stick a textbook under their nose to create a learning experience. Head to your local library and check out comic books, novels, sports magazines, or any other genre or book that piques your child’s interest. Many libraries and school systems offer summer reading programs, using different incentives to keep kids excited about learning and reading. You could set your own goal for your family, with a pizza party, movie, or theme park trip as a bonus incentive for really big accomplishments.
Many schools now incorporate tablets and Chromebooks into the classroom, so kids are already familiar with a lot of the websites and apps that can teach them learning throughout the summer break. Frequenting websites such as i-Ready Math and i-Ready Reading over the summer can help students be ready for an i-Ready test or grade-level assessment during the school year. It is very easy to forget things like spelling words and math facts when you aren’t drilling them every day, so adding some content-specific gaming apps to their tablets or devices can make it easier for students to practice without realizing it. You can also set a mandate with screen time, that requires a certain amount of practice time before you allow other activities on gaming consoles or other devices.
Keep Up the Routine
Even though it is great to get in some extra sleep during the summer, keeping your kids on a schedule can help with the transition back into the classroom. Don’t let your children sleep all morning, then spend all day indoors watching television or playing video games. Create opportunities with summer camps or local programs that still require order, self-control, and cognitive engagement. Have your children keep a journal, making notes or drawing pictures in it a few times a week about their experiences. Encourage your children to set fitness or activity goals, as well as personal interest goals like learning to cook or practice their soccer a few times a week. Keeping your children in a routine prevents boredom and promotes feelings of fulfillment and accomplishment in your children.
Take Educational Trips
There are probably several museums or state parks in your area that can give your kids a new learning experience without screaming “boring” at them. Taking your children to reenactments with time-period costumes and displays can open their eyes to learning beyond what you can find in a book. Visit an art museum, aquarium, or theatre to expose your kids to a more organic education, combining fun and knowledge in the same experience. Not only are you giving their brain something to process and grasp, but you are also creating family memories that could last a lifetime. Plan your vacation in a way that hits some historical or significant cultural highlights.
Your kids don’t have to mope about all summer complaining that they are bored, and you don’t have to worry that they aren’t working hard enough. With some creative planning, you can fill their summer with activities that are both fun and educational.