Summer Activities for Learning
Summer is upon us! School is ending (or has ended). Do our children need to stop learning, let the brains completely rest, shut down even, during the summer? Do they need to sit and do homework every day to be sure their brains don’t rot before the new school year? The answer to both questions is, “NO!” Summer is all about experiences and fun. Experiences provide learning opportunities. Learning can be fun! Do you need to be an accomplished homeschool parent, certified teacher, or creative genius to be sure your children learn well while having fun through the summer? No. The Internet is covered with ideas. Your surroundings and community are covered with opportunities.
My children are 11, 10, and 8. They have different interests, different personalities, and even different learning styles. My eight-year old loves to draw, look at clouds, catch bugs, and play at the playground. My 10 year old loves to play in mud, watch birds, kill bugs, and visit museums. My 11 year old loves to study or discuss anything military or hunting related. In order to have fun learning and playing with them, I need to cater to different things and different loves. Sometimes, everything can be combined into a single activity. Sometimes I need to do “Mama time” with each child doing what he or she wants to do and find a way to learn through it. Every experience provides an opportunity to learn and to teach. We always teach our children what we value, what we enjoy, and what we believe. If you value learning, especially in different ways, your children will learn to value learning.
One of my favorite comic strips is “Calvin and Hobbs” by Bill Watterson. It is funny, clever and educational too. Here is one of my favorite strips that shows how children prefer learning when it is something that interests them. It is one of my favorites.
Now for the activities. Many of these ideas can help keep your child’s mind stay sharp and active this summer. We’ve mentioned some of these activities in other articles, but here are some new fun activities you can do with your children this summer:
- Create stories together: One person starts a story and another person continues it.
- Take turns until you end or tire of the story.
- Write a story together and illustrate it in crayon, pencil, paint, chalk, or computer graphics.
- Create stories from images you see in the clouds
- Draw pictures and tell stories about them
- Read favorite books together as a family
- Visit the local library for their planned activities
- Visit local museums
- Visit local arboretums
- Visit local nature centers
- Visit a garden nursery and learn about the plants they sell.
- Buy a few plants and plant them at home.
- Walk around your neighborhood looking at the flowers, trees, and bushes in people’s yards. Go home or to the library and learn about the plants you saw.
- Go to a park and watch the birds. Go home, or to the library, and find books to teach you about them.
- Visit the zoo
- Try an activity you haven’t tried before that you or your child wants to try
- Some areas have paint your own ceramics
- Some areas have basic pottery classes
- Continuing education classes offered through your local city or district. My mother and I did several of these when I was young. They are some of my best memories. These can include historical walking tours of areas near you.
- Visit historical or geographical landmarks
- Nature walks
- Visit state or national parks:
- Talk to park rangers
- Read the plaques
- Discover the wildlife, plant life, and rock formations
- Visit a planetarium
- Take your child(ren) to work with you (with permission from your supervisor, of course) and teach your child(ren) what you do when you’re not at home
- Garden (remember the article we shared about gardening?)
- Clip, paste, and write about your family adventures: Scrapbook pictures and stories about family vacations and activities this summer.
- Cooking and building: This teaches math skills, the importance of a formula, directions, proper tools, and fun science about chemical reactions and what different ingredients do in a recipe. This also can teach texture, taste, and dexterity
- Work: build a fence, help a neighbor, volunteer at a soup kitchen: This teaches industry, compassion, self-reliance, the value of hard work, the value of gratitude, the value of a job well done
- Plan a family outing or trip together
- Part of the fun of an outing or trip happens in the planning
- Plan where, when, and what the family will need
- Let your children do most of the planning with you helping only when needed
- Visit a factory or store where things are made
- Build your own stuffed animal
- Furniture making
- Chocolate or other candy factory
Summer does not have to be a wasteland of TV, movies, video games, and boredom. There is much to do and much to learn. Experience the world with your children. Enjoy learning alongside them.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs