Summertime is meant to be a time away from structured school for those children who are old enough to attend. For older kids, this means that there are three solid months where they get to run and play in the summer sunshine and forget about all the academic knowledge they absorbed over the school year. For the younger kiddos, it is a time that exploring expands beyond the warm walls of their home and opens up the opportunity for new adventures and discovering the world out of doors. Many studies show that over the long, hot summers, children who are not academically stimulated lose up to thirty percent of the knowledge they gained over the year, which puts them behind when school starts in the fall. Whereas, children who are engaged in active learning over the summer can have the things they learned reinforced and can actually be ahead for the new grade that lies ahead. While we don’t recommend your home becoming a rigorous summer schoolhouse, we highly recommend you to engage your children in active learning all summer long. Here are a few helpful hints on how to add to learning opportunities while having an enjoyable summer vacation, for kids of all ages!
Make a Summer Reading List or Book Goal
Summertime is a great time to set aside required reading and encourage our children to find the joy in reading in topics and book selections that they enjoy. This is an excellent time to make a reading list of books that your kid wants to read instead
of has to read and allow them to enjoy reading time. Make a list together and post it, then set goals and check the books off as they are finished. Encourage your child to tell you about the book and offer incentives for finishing a book or a set number of books. For instance, if they read a book that is a movie, reward them with a movie night once they have read the book. For kids who are too young to read themselves, set a summer goal for a number of books read and mark them off together each time that you read. Children who see their parents read are more likely to read themselves and find the joy in it. It is best practice to lead by example. We suggest setting aside 20 minutes a day for reading time. Everyone in your household should settle down with their books and read for 20 minutes. Afterward, you can resume your day or discuss what each of you is reading. If your house is too busy or you have a diverse age of kids that makes 20 minutes of daily silent reading seem impossible, try alternative activities such as frequent trips to the library or starting a neighborhood book club or book swap with other neighborhood kids.
Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill is a great educational experience for all ages. When we learn new skills, we learn new ways of processing information and we can apply these skills to our problem-solving toolbox. If the school year is full of homework and extracurricular activities, the summer is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill that your kids have been wanting to. Learning something new can also be a great family bonding experience when you learn the new skill together! Check out your local community recreation center, library, or parent’s groups to discover a wide range of classes. You can also check out your local garden center, hardware store, or craft/ hobby shop for project class opportunities. If you are a working parent and don’t have the opportunity to attend a class with your children, check out local daycares, youth centers, or summer camps that offer fun new activities to enhance your child’s skill set.
A summer full of reading and skill learning are just a few ways we love to keep children’s curiosities in bloom. Stay tuned for our next installment where we will offer more ideas on how to keep your child learning all summer long. For reliable childcare that promotes discovery and exploratory learning, contact us at Child Time, Inc.