Summer vacation has a tendency to wash away all things school related from children’s young minds. Nearly two months without instruction and homework can be a disrupting time period in their overall education. In most cases, such lapses in the child’s learning can result in educators having to review and reteach forgotten lessons. While they could be learning new subjects, the class is stuck in last year’s teachings, trying to regain what they lost. If not taken care of, it can have a lasting impact on their performance in school.
One method to combat this is to have parents get more involved with their children during summer. Learning doesn’t have to end at the first day of vacation. It also doesn’t have to come in the form of worksheets and times tables. Outdoor activities can give children a fun experience as well as teach them certain subjects like basic science and biology. Let junior have his rowdy fun with friends once in a while, but don’t forget to partake in some activities alongside him.
Working in the Garden
The basics of how things grow and where food comes from can be an engrossing experience for kids. Also, their extra help can get the yard work done a little quicker. Get the child involved in planting seeds and tending plants. Possibly tell them the different parts of a seed, and explain the essential needs of a plant. They’ll get a taste of fresh produce or a smell of newly cut flowers.
An activity that can give the family exercise and a learning experience is hiking. Children can work their muscles and minds as they traverse trails. Talk about the different trees and wildlife as you go. Prior research can be done, so you’ll have more tidbits of information as you hike. Bringing nature books like bird and plant guides will provide a great game for trying to identify the different aspects of ecology. See how many you can find and tally the count at the end of the day.
Fun Water Games
Incorporate learning and math skills into a fun family water balloon toss. For younger children, have them name colors or count how many balloons they have. Older children can add balloons or do subtraction for each balloon that pops. This can be a fun way to incorporate math into a game!
A fantastic way to introduce the child to water and what resides within is to go fishing. Teach them how to setup their fishing poles and put bait on the hook. Tell them about the different fish in the lake or river. Kids will definitely want to know how fish breathe underwater. When one is caught, show them the features of it like the tail, fins and gills.
Build a Bird Feeder
Craft shops are filled with kits that make building projects much easier. Such products can give hours of hands-on fun. Attract birds to your yard with a bird feeder. Build it together, getting the child to read and follow instructions. Give them the basics on handling tools, and once the feeder is finished and in place, point out and detail the different birds that visit.
One thing to remember is to always have a fun time with your child. If the experience begins to sound too much like a lecture or school lesson, kids may lose interest. A solution to retaining their motivation throughout the activity is to keep it simple. Provide small, easy to understand facts about plants, fish, and other topics. Give them options on how they approach the task they are given. More options result in more thinking, which engages children and interests them. Provide them with quality learning. Most of all make some cherished memories over the course of summer.
About the Author: Kandace Heller is a freelance writer in Orlando, Florida. She has a passion for reading and sharing new ideas with others. For games with water balloons, Kandace recommends checking out Big Balloon Store’s giant water balloons.