In our last article, we looked at some of the facts concerning summer break and how some research shows that kids may lose a lot of what they have just learned. So what can we do as parents to keep our kids engaged and learning over the summer? Here, Beyond the Classroom share some tips for keeping kids smart over the summer! We have scoured the Internet for loads of fun, mostly free and fancy ideas!
- Take a virtual vacation – Pick a country, any country! Then research, read up on and try recipes from that country/culture! Getting the entire family involved in geographical adventures keeps kids learning. Use the web or visit your local library to find out more about your chosen country/culture
- Cooking with family – Want to try a new recipe? Get creative in the kitchen with your family! Go to the grocery store together and learn about working with a budget (math). Get your hands dirty with some ingredients and let the kids do the measuring (math) and follow the instructions (reading). For some family friendly recipe ideas, check out Pragma Mamma’s parenting and lifestyle blog
- Get outside – Explore local parks and community centres, free local events, etc. Unplug and learn something new! Check out your city’s local website for events and details. Check out the City of Burlington’s events
- Volunteering – Get involved in your community and help out. Local seniors’ homes, charities, churches, day cares, summer schools and community centres are always looking for keen volunteers. Why not get your high school volunteering hours done and help out at a local sports camp or start your own? Volunteering provides valuable experience by helping students develop leadership and job skills, exposing them to potential career opportunities and helping them make their own professional connections within their community.
- Daily Journal – Have your kids keep a daily journal recording their summer experiences, events, etc. This helps to keep their reading and writing skills sharp and encourages creative writing!
- Summer Reading– Put together a suggested summer reading list for your kids or ask their teacher for suggestions before they finish the academic year or hit up your local library. Many libraries have reading and/or writing competitions that kids can take part in and offer reading programs that can keep your students busy for the entire summer break. Reading is one of the easiest ways to keep a student’s mind engaged during a break from structured educational activities and it increases vocabulary and encourages creative writing skills!
- Get outside and explore – a trip to the neighborhood park or a nearby forest can be a terrific learning experience. Have your students go into nature equipped with a book about flora and fauna and take a hike! Check out your local conservation area like Bronte Creek Provincial Park. Many have educational and recreational programs that your kids will enjoy while connecting with nature.
- Get Crafty – hit up your local craft store for some easy and fun kits for summer projects. The sky is the limit, but the key is to have them doing something rather than passively watching television
- Learn online – there are a wide range of fantastic and free resources for just about every type of learner. Some of the most popular games that encourage creativity for younger children include drawing game SketchUp, building online with Lego Digital Designer or creating a digital flip book with FlipSnack. Additional free apps such as World’s Worst Pet, Cargo-Bot and Rocket Science 101 can help your student brush up on their vocabulary, flex their brain muscles or even launch a rocket! If these examples aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, a simple search for educational apps in your App Store can provide more options! The Beyond the Classroom blog also has some great apps to share here.
- Stay Active & healthy– In addition to academic risks, children can also be at an increased risk of weight gain when they are out of school during the summer months. Take advantage of the warmer weather and keep you active outdoors by joining a local sports team or joining the gym! Local recreational programs are a cost-effective way to keep active over the summer too
- Book some time with a Beyond the Classroom tutor – Having your child spend some invaluable time with a tutor helps brush up on skills from the past academic year and can also prepare them for the challenges that lay ahead. Our OCT-qualified teachers can help with math, languages and even study skills prep. Send them back to school ready and book a tutor today!
We hope these tips and tricks will help make your family’s summer a fun and exciting one! School may stop for the summer, but learning never should.