Oh that! It’s summertime! Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and everything your child learned this year is slowly leaking out of their head! How do we prevent our kids from regressing over the summer? It’s really very simple. Just have fun!
Give your child things to do that are not mind-numbing. Don’t let Johnny crash in front of the TV for three hours (unless you are going to take a nap, then let him veg out!). Don’t let Sally just swing on the swings all day long. Incorporate activities into their daily schedule that have some academic value. If Johnny insists on watching TV, there are plenty of educational videos. If Sally must swing all day, all night, have her do her multiplication tables while swinging back and forth.
Here are a couple of fun games.
- Get some sidewalk chalk and write your child’s high frequency words (also commonly referred to as sight words) all over your driveway. Give him a squirt bottle full of water. When you call out a word, he has to run to that word and wash it away! The same can be done for answers to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems.
- Do you have a trampoline? A swing set? Some outdoor toys? Set up a ticket booth. Give your kids some fake money, and they can purchase their tickets to each activity. For example- the trampoline tickets cost .75 cents each. Billy wants three tickets. He has to add up the money and hand you the correct amount before he can get the tickets. You can even have your older child make change!
- Science experiments are easy in warm weather! Just hose off the patio after the explosion! You can cook outside, create a volcano, search for and identify bugs. The possibilities are endless.
- Live near a park or an area with many different types of trees? Take a walk with your kids and have them collect leaf samples (or flowers, or bugs) and bring them home to do some research. The kids can use the internet, or GASP! a book, to identify their finds and start a leaf journal, or a bug book.
- Warm summer nights are a great time to go star-gazing and look at the planets. Take some black or dark blue construction paper (large sized) and flick white paint on it. That will make the stars in the night sky. Staple several blank white sheets inside the stars and have your child draw each planet and write a fun fact or two. Do one a week and by the end of summer, your child will have his or her own planet book.
- Check into your local parks and recreation department for nature hikes and summer fun classes for your child. [Your local REI also offers community programs that include volunteer opportunities and a Family Adventure Program.]
- Make a recipe book. Every week, have your children help you cook something (it doesn’t have to be fancy). Cooking is great for measurement, so make sure they do all of the measuring. Have them write out the recipe on a piece of paper. By the end of summer, your child will have his own cookbook. It might also make a great back to school present for their new teachers!
- When you walk to the park, create silly sentences with your kids about things you see. Have them expand on the sentences with all the parts of speech. For example- Mom: I see a dog. Billy: I see a wet dog. Jessica: I see a wet spotted dog. Dad: I see a wet spotted dog running.
- Going on vacation? Get out the map and have your child map your trip (it’s even doable if you are going by plane). He can calculate gas, hotel prices, food, admission costs to activities, souvenirs, flights, etc. Just be careful! You might not want to know how much that trip really costs!
- Lastly, the easiest thing your child can do this summer is read, read, READ! Let them check out books from the library and read every day as much as they want!
Have a great summer! Only 11 more weeks til school starts again! (but who’s counting?)