Summer Time Learning Fun
By: Molly Reid
What time is it? It’s Summer Time! You have made it through another grueling year of school and now it’s time to rest. Except now you have summer readings and math facts to drill into your children to prevent things from being forgotten. The problem is they are so burnt out on school, and so are you. How can you keep the fun alive while stimulating their minds? Here are four practical ways to teach your kids academics while still having fun on your summer break.
Whether your children are toddlers or school students, a scavenger hunt is fun for everyone! Have the kids draw a map of things they might find outside. When they complete it, have them look for the things they drew. For example, they may find a tree, and in that tree – a bird or a squirrel. They can compare and contrast different types of plants. Take a magnifying glass and look for bugs in the dirt. The possibilities are endless! Being outdoors improves learning in children. Charlotte Mason believed: “Nature cultivates a love of learning in children. A love of nature, implanted so early that it will seem to them hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health, and good humor.”
Say and Spray
All you need for this water fun activity is some sidewalk chalk and a spray bottle. If you don’t have a spray bottle, use a water gun or water bottle. This is an easy way to have your children work on any skill. If they are still learning letters, draw out the alphabet and call a letter out of order. If they need practice reading, write the sight words they need to go over. If they need a math review, write out the answer to an addition or multiplication problem, along with a few incorrect answers, and have them solve it. Once they find the right answer, spray it with water! No matter how old they are, they will want to “play” again and again!
Water Balloon Phonics
How can you turn phonics into fun? This game is sure to entertain your kids. You will need some index cards, tape, a permanent marker and several balloons. Fill the water balloons and write word endings on them. Then write letters on index cards and tape them to the wall. Give the kids the box of water balloons with word endings and have them choose a balloon. They can bring it to each letter to see if it makes a word. If it does, they can read it and then throw the balloon on the letter to pop it. This game would also work with math! In addition to being just plain fun, kids have the opportunity to sharpen their gross motor skills with aiming and throwing!
Cooking with Kids
Another effective way to engage your children is through food. Having fun with your kids in the kitchen creates precious memories, good vibes and good food. Dr. Megan Harvey of The Children’s Clinic in Hattiesburg says, “Early introduction and consistent application of quality time fosters a lifelong relationship with parents that bode well as children grow into teenagers.” Cooking is for all ages. Your preschooler can work on his fine motor skills by whisking and adding measured ingredients, while your elementary school child can work on basic techniques, like cracking eggs and chopping. Those with older kids can encourage them to independently follow recipes. Teens can gain freedom in the kitchen with simple fun recipes, like homemade ice cream, or more complex aspirations, such as cooking an entire meal for the family. Not to mention, cooking requires math, comprehension, and real-life science! Shh, don’t tell your kids!
Summer days are made for adventure… and learning. Hopefully, your days will be filled with both!
Molly Reid lives in Petal, MS, is happily married to Josh, and is a stay at home mom to their three beautiful children.