Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Keeping Your Child Engaged (NOT Bored) in Summer

The minute school gets out for the summer, there is usually one thing that a student is most excited about doing…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  For parents, it's usually the opposite reaction...how do I keep my child occupied for the next 2-3 months without them completely forgetting everything they've learned this school year?

Luckily, there are ways that you can almost trick your child into learning over the summer without them even knowing it.  Shhhh!  It will be our little secret :).

How do you get your child to stay engaged, learning, and motivated during the summer?  Of course you can buy workbooks and have them go on educational websites, but I want to show you how to use activities that are already on your summer agenda.  Here are just a few ideas on how you can incorporate education into your typical summer routines so that you're challenging your child and they still feel like they're enjoying their summer vacation:

Traveling

If your family is planning a trip or going out of town at some point during the summer, make it educational in these ways:

  • Give each of your children an opportunity to plan a day of the trip.  Have them research things to do/see in your destination and have them come up with an itinerary.  They can also give facts about each of the places they want you to take them to so that they are learning about the area and its history.
  • Toss the GPS aside and have your child navigate (if you trust them!).  I used to use a road map on family trips and determine the distance from one state to another by measuring the route using the scaled distance on the map key.  Once your child  figures out approximate mileage for the state, have them divide it by your speed to give an approximate estimated time of arrival.  (This is a more challenging activity)
  • Play the game "two truths and a lie" using facts about your destination.  Each child will give three sentences about it - 2 of them true facts, and one that is not true.  Your child will have to do some research on where you're traveling to and try to see if you can figure out which of the 3 sentences are true and which one they made up.

  • Traveling to a foreign country?  Teach your child about that country's currency and give them a short lesson on exchange rates.  (They will need to know how to multiply decimals)  Give them an amount of money that you plan to exchange and then have them calculate how much that translates to in that country's currency.  You can also have them do a currency project to get them excited for the trip.  Check out my FREE foreign currency activity HERE.

Spending Times with Friends
  • Encourage your child and their friend(s) to come up with a play of some sort.  They can write a script and rehearse for a performance, make a video, or do simple improv.  This is sure to keep them creative.
  • Book Club anyone?  Help your child organize a book club with their friends.  They can choose a fun book they haven't all read before and arrange days to meet to discuss different parts of the book as they read.  If this book is also a movie, they can celebrate finishing it with a trip to see the film version.


Shopping

  • If you take your child shopping or out to eat, have them help you calculate how much money you would save if something's on sale, how much tax will be added onto a bill, or how much you should tip your server at a restaurant.
  • Give them a budget and have them figure out how they will maximize it in stores they like to shop at.



Sports

For those of you who think that you will have a difficult time keeping your athletes learning over the summer, there are unique ways to have them exercising their brains as well.
  • Baseball/softball players can keep track and calculate their batting average throughout the season.  Have them create a chart after each game to see if their average is increasing or decreasing.
  • Runners can divide the time of each run by the distance to find their average running speed.  


Summertime is meant to be fun, but it can also be educational, so why not combine the two? Keep your child learning and motivated without sacrificing the "fun" of it.   Have a great summer and keep on learning!

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