“Where can I find some fun, educational, summer activities for my kids?”
We’ve got you covered.
The “summer slump” is a dangerous reality, and supports the notion that learning outside the classroom is so essential. Organizations like the Harlem Children Zone have recently placed an emphasis on helping families to provide a safe and educational environment for babies and toddlers. Their goal is to prevent any child from falling behind before they are even in the classroom. These same efforts should be made to prevent kids from falling behind during summer vacation.
Kids need opportunities to scoop up knowledge and practice their skills so they remember how to activate their minds when they get back inside the classroom. But parents don’t need to enroll their kids in fancy academic programs. Engagement and learning can occur on the living room couch, at the playground, or walking down the street to grab a slice of pizza.
So here are some ways to keep the wheels greased:
1. Story Telling
Parents can easily adapt Heather Wolpert-Gawron’s thoughtful story-telling lesson plan for the home. Sit down with a child and ask him or her to tell you a story about something that occurred that day. This activity will give kids a chance to reflect, organize their thoughts, and present. If you share a story first it might give them a better idea of how to form a narrative with facts about their day.
2. Pizza Delivery!
If you’re ordering pizza, or running to the grocery store, ask for a little helper. Counting change, or picking out items from a grocery list can be a valuable educational activity. Activities like this one will allow you to go about your normal schedule while still incorporating some fun learning.
3. Stock up on Words
Explore one vocabulary word a week. (You can choose appropriate grade-level vocabulary from our Word Up Project!) On Monday, pick a word and let your child predict the definition. On Tuesday, find the actual definition and make sure you and your child rephrase it in a way that makes sense to both of you. On Wednesday use it in a sentence, and on Thursday draw a picture. Solidly learning one great word a week will be a huge–and painless–summer achievement!
4. One man’s trash is another man’s fashion
Before you take out your recycling, use it for a fashionable purpose! Show this video of a recyclable fashion show to your kids. Then try creating blouses out of bags and skirts out of newspapers!
5. Scavenger Hunt
Send your kids on a language arts scavenger hunt! This activity might encourage your child to look at his/her surroundings in a new light. All you have to do is step outside! See our literacy scavenger hunt lesson plan here!
Not only will these efforts prevent your child’s brain from turning off and getting lazy, but they will implant a valuable pattern of paying attention to their surroundings and instill the ability to extract learning from everyday situations. For more ideas checkout this list from Family Education