By Blog Editor Susan Wells
For parents who want to encourage their kids to stay on top of their studies without cramming books and lessons down their throats, here are a few ideas to keep their minds strong over the summer.
- Start with the Steve Spangler Science Summer Science Experiment Guide for tons of ideas for amazing science experiments.
- Check out an astronomy program at an observatory or museum.
- Find a smaller or less popular museum that you have never visited and try it out.
- Turn a museum visit into a Scavenger Hunt. Visit the website first then when at the museum, try to find the exhibits seen on the website.
- Take a hike or walk and try to identify birds, rocks, trees, plants, types of clouds or whatever you see.
- There are a lot of summer science camps and nature camps out there. Find a program that will enrich your child’s love for science.
- Bring out the traditional board games like Monopoly, Battleship, Clue, Uno or Chess to practice a little math.
- Cook or bake together. Recipes use fractions and it’s a great real-world experience to see them in action.
- Play math games on the computer or tablet. There are tons of educational apps that feel like arcade games vs. a learning drudge. Try Murky Reef, Math Bingo, Motion Math.
- A book series by Johnny Ball presents math and number play in unique and fun games. Start with Go Figure! A Totally Cool Book About Numbers.
- IXL is a math website that challenges and presents fun ways to learn math. It is also used by a lot of schools.
- Also try Multiplication.com. They offer math games for all of the basic math skills – Addition and Subtraction.
- Learn about investing. Join a Junior Investment Program and calculate your compounding interest. How long will it take you to become a millionaire?
- Form your own book club within your family or friends. Set a goal for reading six books during the summer months and then discuss. Sharing and talking about a book increases reading comprehension.
- When reading with your child this summer, make sure they pick books that challenge, instead of allowing them to only read books that are too easy.
- Join a library summer reading program
- Play some traditional games like Scrabble to practice language skills. You can go higher tech and jump on Words with Friends.
- Get out of the house! Visit the zoo, or museum and read the signs. Don’t let them just push all the buttons and run around, stop and really look at the exhibits. It’s incredibly tough to stop touching and clicking buttons, but well worth it.
- Take a mini vacation that involves a lesson – I’ve taken my kids to Mesa Verde in Southern Colorado and Yellowstone for geologic features. When they can see and touch what they’ve learned in school, it makes a huge difference.
- Take a vacation to a historic location like Boston or Washington D.C. Bring history to life!
- Plan a virtual vacation. Pick a place on the map. Research airfares, fly times, distance in miles and kilometers and then put together a virtual itinerary once you arrive.
- Eat at an ethnic restaurant to practice a foreign language and get a quick peek into another culture.
- Play with blocks and Legos.
- Make toothpick and marshmallow structures.
- Limit TV and electronics time.
Here are some activities and lessons from some of our favorite, the Kid-Blogger Network.
- Science at Home: Strength of Materials from Inspiration Laboratories
- Science at Home: Kitchen Chemistry from Inspiration Laboratories
- Weather Science from Life at the Zoo
- Make Your Own Summer Learning Board from the Educator’s Spin on It
- Poetry Journals from Buggy and Buddy
- Creating a Summer Notebook from Mama’s Learning Corner
- Do It Yourself Summer School from Busy Kids = Happy Mom
- What to do When Summer Break Drains the Brain? Sneak in Fun Learning Opportunities from Kids Creative Chaos
- Jump In! To Summer Learning: Space Theme from Royal Baloo
- Summer Activities for Kids from My Life and Kids
- Letter Activities for Kids from Fun-A-Day
- Using Tiny Erasers for Fine Motor and Math Skills from Fun-A-Day
- School Aged Activities for Summer and After School from Educator’s Spin On It
- Top 10 School’s Out Activities from the Kids Blogger Network from This Reading Mama