Cool Summer School
When I was a child, my favorite summer moments happened in the library. Yes, beach days are fun, but I’d rather spend time scanning shelves of books. How crazy is that?! Yet even as a mom, I wanted to bring a bit of summer learning into our home. Of course, my kids weren’t interested in spending their days in the library, so I brought in summer learning other ways.
- Summer classes and camps. Many schools, colleges and museums have summer classes or camps. These programs make learning fun. My son Cory took a soapbox derby class where they designed and made their own cars and learned about engineering. My daughter took art classes in the park and had a great time weaving, painting, and more.
- Play in the garden. We planted a garden once, oh yes we did. It was not a pretty sight, but we learned a lot. Even if you have a small plot (or a pot!) your kids can having fun growing something. Also, check out library books about plants, photosynthesis, and ecosystems to learn about the growing process.
- Get cooking. I clearly remember my daughter flipping pancakes at the age of 5 dressed in a pink tutu. Summer is a great time to start cooking classes with your kids. Have them help you make a shopping list, go shopping, and cook! Teach or reinforce measurements and cooking terms. They’ll love it, and hey, you’ve got to eat, don’t you?!
- Create stories and plays. Creating stories is fun, but don’t just count on paper and pens. Talk about characters, dialogue and action, and act out their story. If you have a video camera, record it! My kids loved to put on circus skits or recreate their favorite Bible stories or fairy tales.
- Host a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Pick out items up and down your street, such as an oak tree, a fire hydrant and a brown door, and write them on index cards. Then take your kids on a walk and see who can find the items first. This reinforces reading skills, and they don’t even know it!
- Create a map of your home. Help your kids draw a map and teach them new words, such as north, south, east, west, map key, scale, etc.
- Create a weekly date to be a tourist in your town. Stop by a local hotel and pick up tourist attraction brochures from the front lobby; find things to do that are free or inexpensive. Create a memory book and have your children write down what they experience (AKA journaling!)
- Reading clubs. Most libraries have summer reading clubs where kids can earn points or prizes for books read. I also created a prize box for my children, and they could get additional prizes for reading. (And the prizes I picked out were “educational,” such as science kits and art supplies.)
- Pick a summer topic. Want to learn about oceans, puppy care, or photography? Pick a summer topic as a family and see how much you can learn together
In the end your kids will have no idea they’re learning. They’ll just be enjoying the time together . . . and the fun!