7 Tips to Keep Kids Learning Over the Summer
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The extra time kids have over the summer can bring on more than boredom. According to the National Summer Learning Association, students can lose just over two months’ worth of smarts during the summer months.
The good news is, this doesn't have to happen! It’s easier than you think to make time for plenty of fun and freedom as well as learning opportunities for your kids. Explore new ways of learning and stockpile a variety of ideas for activities that can be done indoors or out depending on the weather and what your kid feels like doing.
Here are some tips and activities can keep your child’s brain firing on all neurons during the summer months while having fun, too:
- Get outdoors, and indoors! Nice days are made for a science experiment in the back yard, or a challenging obstacle course in the pool that works body and brain muscles. Rainy or hot days offer a chance to dig into some educational games or log valuable reading time. Be prepared to employ some motivation strategies.
- Use technology with a purpose. Technology can provide fabulous alternative tools and inspiration, too. K12 mobile apps for various reading levels can offer a nice change from turning pages. Children can read and listen to illustrated versions of classic stories, poems, and plays such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Wheels on the Bus, and Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, and Humpty Dumpty.
- Go beyond your yard! Don't forget about all of the great learning opportunities that your local community has to offer. Getting out of the house can inspire all sorts of ways to learn new things. Museums, new towns, libraries, parks and other fun and interesting places offer ample opportunity to explore cultures, history, geography and art.
- The meaning of money. Consider helping kids understand the value of allowance money and employ math skills needed to get through life more profitably. Summertime affords myriad opportunities for kids to start a small business, such as a lemonade stand, lawn mowing or dog walking. Profits will likely drive enthusiasm for learning how to manage a budget and communicate with customers.
- The value of a helping hand. Tying volunteerism to a child’s interests also affords a chance to learn new and valuable skills, not to mention it will keep her active and productive over the summer. Organizations devoted to causes such as animals, our natural environment, faith and art are often happy to have young people willing to help out.
- Learning is tastey. During the school year, kids can become too busy to develop important life skills, such as cooking family meals. This activity can become a fun and challenging series of math lessons. From establishing a shopping budget to measuring ingredients and using multiplication for recipes, kids will learn the importance of correct calculations and take another step closer to independence.
- Don't be afraid of a little structure. If your child needs more structure, summer school courses can offer the chance to catch up, get ahead, try a new language, or explore exciting electives so that they can start the next school year strong. K¹² offers a variety of affordable online courses specifically designed for the summer months. Options include courses to prepare for the transition from middle to high school, master a world language or get inspired with career-building electives or personal enrichment courses, including Computer Literacy, Web Design, and Skills for Health.
Remember, summer is your child’s chance to rest and rejuvenate, so it’s important to stay flexible when it comes to inspiring kids to continue learning. Lori Beverage, K12’s senior manager of national community and family support and mother of five offers these words of encouragement: “Remember, anything that sparks imagination and thinking results in learning.”
Deanna Glick is a senior writer for K12. She has nearly two decades of experience as a journalist covering many topics, including education, youth and family issues. Deanna has also served as a volunteer and staff member for children's school-based nonprofit organizations. For more information about K12's tuition-free, online public schools in 32 states and D.C., plus its three private schools, please visit the K12 website.
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