Most children look forward to the summer thinking it will be a time they can rest from learning. Most parents know it is important for learning to continue, just not with as much stress. Here are some ideas for ways you can make summer learning fun.
Water Exploration: fill a small pool or large container with water. Choose several items to do a water experiment with. Make sure some float and some sink. Ask the children before you start whether they think the item will sink or swim. Ask them why. Then allow them to test their theory. Allow the children to play in the water and have fun, but after a few minutes ask them about themselves. If they were dropped in the water would they sink or float. This is a great time to talk about water safety and why it is important to learn how to swim or at least how to float. For older kids, talk about how inflating your lungs makes a difference.
Kitchen Fun: Teach your child fractions by letting them help you cook. If a recipe calls for 1 cup, ask the child how many 1/3 cups make a full cup. Let them experiment using smaller measurement utensils to achieve the whole. After they have experimented, have them follow a recipe for something they enjoy eating. As they measure the ingredients, remind them why it is important that you learn fractions. When they have finished, cook their finished math lesson and enjoy!
Reading Fun: Why not make a fun reading area for a summer day? Visit the library and choose a book that peaks your child’s interest. Create some fun reading centers. Make a tent using a sheet draped over outside furniture. If you own a tent, set it up in the back yard. If it is a rainy day, find a special chair or area inside and make it into a reading “den.” Read in a lamp-lit room, giving a fresh look to an ordinary place. Maybe you could even create a fun reading center in the child’s room. Turn off the television and game centers and have an electronics-free day. The children may complain at first, but in the end they will really enjoy it.
Science Fun: Go on a hunt in your back yard. Gather leaves from trees in your yard. Have the child match the tree that the leaf grew on. Take a piece of paper and a crayon and have them place the paper against the bark of the tree. Rub the crayon over the paper and make a rubbing picture of the bark. If you have several trees around your yard, compare the bark rubbings of several trees. Ask questions comparing and contrasting the different trees and their bark. Enjoy seeing what is in your own back yard.
Make summer learning fun by incorporating it into everyday life. Keep your eyes open for teachable moments along the way.