Summer Learning Fun
By Ashley Sigrest
Summer may mean a break from school, but it shouldn’t mean a break from learning. Parents can easily fall into two summer traps: allowing their kids endless hours of television and video games or forcing workbooks and other school-like activities. Neither of these things are bad, nor should they be avoided, but there are many other ways for kids to enjoy their summers. Learning happens all the time in various forms. Summer should be a time to create memories that children look back on with fondness.
Jennifer Higginbotham, preschool teacher at First Presbyterian Day School believes enjoying the summer is more important than doing schoolwork while on break. “I do not want kids to get burned out no matter what age they are.” If you want to make sure your children don’t regress in some academic areas, there are fun ways to help them learn that don’t take a lot of extra effort on your part.
To help your children keep up their printing or cursive, have them write a letter to a grandparent each week. It could be addressed to a cousin, or a friend, too. This will allow them to work on their writing skills and spelling (but grammar doesn’t necessarily need to be addressed). Just the simple act of writing is good practice. Another helpful writing tip is to keep a summer journal with your child. Daily write notes in the journal to one another about your adventures. Or about anything you want! This could become something you continue even after the kids return to school.
Like writing, math facts are one of those skills that get better with use. There are apps and online games that can help with memorization. But the best way to learn is by doing. Bonus points if it’s fun! Have your children choose a recipe they want to try. Let them use their math skills to help shop for the ingredients and measure them out. Having a lemonade stand is an excellent way for your children to learn about money, budgeting, adding, subtracting, and making profits. Many parents still work while their children are off for summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create fun memories with them. It’s usually the simple things that stick the most with kids. Having that intentional time with them will help them more in the long than any workbook ever could.
Learning is a natural part of life and can happen even when we don’t plan it. Retired kindergarten teacher, Cindy Davis, recommends collecting board games to play as a family. Games teach kids all sorts of skills without them realizing it. Cindy also recommends teaching your kids outside games, like Red Rover, Freeze Tag, Hide and Seek, and Red Light Green Light. “Get a group of neighborhood children together one evening before supper and try a few games. Parents will be reminded how much fun these games were once, and they still are now!”
Summer is also a great time to teach your children basic life skills like doing laundry, cooking, sewing, or changing a tire. Having an arts and crafts table set up can allow your children to tap into their creativity and they can use the space for science experiments too.
One of the best ways to keep your children learning throughout the summer is reading! Visit your local library weekly and join in on their special events and summer reading program. While children may have their own books to read, choose a book you can read together. Make it special by having snacks while you read to your child and simply discuss the book. No book reports needed!
Summers go by just as quickly as your kids grow up. Don’t feel pressured to overwhelm you or your child with many activities. Just choose the ones you both will enjoy doing together, even if it’s just one a week. Remember: learning will happen naturally and the memories you create together will last a lifetime!
Ashley Sigrest is a homeschooling momma to four kids in Rankin County. She loves to learn alongside her children all year long creating new family traditions and being more intentional with their time.