We all want our kids to be kids and explore all summer long but we also want to keep them learning in all kinds of ways. Although rest and relaxation is also a must (especially after a long school year), kids are at their best when they’re physically and intellectually stimulated. And I’m not talking video games. The summertime presents a smorgasbord of opportunities to learn, get active and avoid sliding into that summer brain-drain.
1.Get them reading
Having your kids pick out a book at home or at your nearest bookstore makes sure they’re reading stories that they’re into. Local public libraries offer access to free books and reading activities so it’s pretty easy to check this off the list.
2. Sign up for summer camp
Consider signing them up for a full day (or week) of sports, dance, art or any other new skill. Being away from home might be scary at first but they’ll benefit from interacting with others and working their problem-solving and social skills.
3. Givem’ tech as a study tool
If your kid is glued to their iPad, why not work with it. Disguise the learning with a hands on activity that the kids are already excited to use.
4. Explore the outdoors
Catch bugs together, go kayaking, build a fort in the back, have your kids plant something and watch it grow. Let them be wild and discover the natural world around them, with a side of much-needed fresh air.
5. Throw in some STEM
We’re talking (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Take a day trip to a science exhibit or search youtube for some at-home science experiments, send Dad to help them build a pop-bottle rocket in the back yard. Anything that will boost their curiosity for the way things work. I love letting my kids know there’s nothing wrong with a little nerding-out.
6. Reward them
My mother used to give my brother and I a children’s math workbook to complete by the end of the summer. When we completed it, there was always a nice little surprise waiting for us. I carried this on to my own kids and it find that it creates a nice association with challenging myself, even when I don’t really have to. Make sure your rewards are practical and don’t forget to acknowledge your child’s achievement through verbal praise.
7. Get artsy
Whether it’s an artsy experience at home on the kitchen table or an activity day at a local arts museum, getting creative activates their senses and imagination. Embraces the mess!
8. Get festive
There are countless summer festivals happening all over Canada. I always enjoy taking my kids to a variety of celebrations. It’s important to introduce them to different food, cultures, causes, music and lifestyles and the festivals are a great way to open their minds to new things. Plan ahead!
9. Make 1 on 1 time
Check in occasionally with your kids one-on-one to allow them the chance to express them selves and be heard. Maybe there’s something they’d like to be doing this summer and they’re not telling you. Maybe something’s bothering them. Simply dedicating some time to be a good listener to your kids could have a positive impact on their self-esteem, keeping them more likely to want to get up and do things.
10. Take a trip
Travel is educational and certainly brings wisdom. Even if you’re just driving to another town, or immersing yourself in a different language in some other country, the exposure to new environments and experiences is well worth it. Plus, think of the memories they’ll have to look back on and share with others when they get back to school.
Do you have any tips or tricks to share? We encourage you to share in the comments!