Summer vacation is a time for rest, relaxation and play. It doesn’t have to be a break from learning, though! Summer is the ideal time to help children see that learning can occur anywhere, even outside the school building. With a little ingenuity and planning, families can spend quality time together while children stay engaged and curious in the learning process.
Learn how things are made
Whether you are going on a trip or staying close to home, there will likely be places where kids can learn how things are made. This encourages creativity, inquisitiveness and helps foster a love for learning. For example, learn how crayons are made or learn about glass blowing.
Explore a hobby or interest in more depth
Seek out new ways to explore a hobby that your child is already interested. Interactive exhibits create an opportunity for exploring new concepts and problem solving. Children’s museums, planetariums and halls of fame are some starting points and especially good rainy-day activities.
Build a model airplane
Craft shops are full of do-it-yourself craft kits from building model airplanes to making your own accessories. Children can practice reading and following directions while working toward creating something.
Put on a chef’s hat
Find a cookbook or print out recipes that are geared for children. This is a great opportunity to explore new foods and even learn about other cultures. Your child may even be more willing to try a new food if he/she made it!
Take a family trip
Involve your child in planning out your trip. This is an opportunity to learn practical skills, such as looking at a map and estimating distance. Children can also learn about the new city or country by doing some research on its history and identifying tourist attractions that they want to visit.
Discuss current events
Find some age-appropriate events in the media to discuss with your child. This encourages them to take an interest in local or global events as well as form and share opinions while engaging in healthy discussion.
Sow some seeds
Planting vegetables or growing flowers can help children learn the science of gardening. Engage in discussion about what plants need to survive and enlist your child’s help in providing water and nutrients to the garden.
Take a hike
Visit a local park or forest preserve to get some physical activity, fresh air, and explore nature. To make it fun and interesting for children, create a scavenger hunt to find wildlife or collect objects for an art activity to do when they get back home.
Having a lemonade stand is a fun and enriching activity that most young children will enjoy. Following a recipe to make the perfect lemonade and using math to count money will sharpen their skills.
Visit a farmer’s market
Or better yet, visit a farm! Questions like “which vegetables grow underground?” and “where does honey come from?” evoke curiosity and discussion.