Summer is great for a lot of things; getting a tan, spending time outside in fresh air, and lounging around in the pool. While we grown-ups tend to give out brain muscles a workout by reading books and, unfortunately, working to earn a living, most children shy away from anything called learning during the summer holidays. You can still sneak in some activities for their mind, though, and it doesn’t have to feel like learning at all – on the contrary, it will actually be a lot of fun.
Children are curious by nature and will learn without giving it much thought. Keep your children’s mind active, happy, and always looking for the next adventure with these fun summer ideas.
Why it is important to keep learning
The start of the school year is fast approaching, and most teachers will spend between four to eight weeks on re-teaching and reviewing the material they went over a few months ago. Children are fast learners, that’s for sure, but they’re also willing to quickly forget as much as possible when there are other things on their mind.
Most children will lose up to two months of math and reading skills when they’re off from school. While this is a great time for them to find back to the motivation for learning and get other inputs than those from a classroom, it’s also a great time for you to put your parental teaching skills to use.
Let them enjoy the time off – but do them a favour by incorporating a bit of learning during the summer holidays as well.
Enjoy gardening together
What better way to learn a bit of science and nature than the hands-on skills of actual gardening? Children love to be outdoors, and they’ll love it even more if they get to help you out and get friendly with fresh produce at the same time. Try to beat the rest of the neighbourhood by keeping the best vegetable garden ever.
Your children will be wide-eyed and amazed at the size of your zucchinis and cucumbers, and it’s an excellent way of teaching them about where food comes from – when you’re not up for that educational trip to the local farm, that is. Find more ways to spend time together and trigger their curiosity for the world with other fun family activities this summer; it will refresh their mind before it’s back to school while also letting you enjoy long days together.
Take advantage of teachable moments
We know that life is all about learning and that you can easily learn buckets of new things every day – if you just focus on it.
You are the best teacher for your child and should look for opportunities for teaching throughout the day. Trips to the zoo with detailed descriptions of animal is a fun and valuable learning experience as long as you encourage them to read the descriptions as well – and not just look at the monkeys all day.
When your child sees or hears something that she naively believes right away, encourage critical thinking by teaching them how they can research their facts and boost their logical reasoning by making her see how things fit together. Read more about critical thinking and children in this article, by the way.
Valuable moments present themselves at all times. Walk the dog together and point out the different flowers on the way; the blue-headed forget-me-nots and fragrant lilacs in your neighbourhood are wonderful science teachers as well. When the autumn comes, point to the different colours and explain how it happens when the days are getting colder but the sun is still shining brightly. They’ll remember and value everything you teach them.