Ahhhh summer! Beautiful weather. Relaxed schedules. No school. And, for most families, those first couple weeks of summer vacation are glorious. Once the novelty wears off, though, many parents find themselves wondering if their child really needs another round of video games or another marathon session of “Adventure Time.”
Finding a balance between mindless fun and maintaining a modicum of brain activity can be tricky. Tricky – not impossible. Any newly acquired skill, if not used regularly, is bound to be lost. This especially applies to education. Try these three simple tips to help your child maintain – and maybe even improve – the skills they gained during the last school year while still enjoying their summer.
1. Interactive Fun – Meet Stanley
If you have elementary aged children, Flat Stanley is a great activity for the summer. Based on the book, Flat Stanley projects are a way to connect with other families around the country and the world. You create your own version of Flat Stanley and send him off to “travel” with another family. You, in turn, host their Flat Stanley. Your kids will keep up their writing and reading skills while finding creative places to visit with Flat Stanley. The beauty of this project is that you can incorporate it easily into whatever your summer plans are. Flat Stanley just adds a new dimension to whatever you’re doing.
2. Family Math Time
Try some “family math.” Math is so much more than worksheets and memorizing multiplication tables. Even if you, the parent, are not a math whiz, you can find meaningful math in everyday activities. The books in the link provide activities for all ages that will help you reinforce and introduce math skills in a fun way throughout the summer. Baking, building, painting, discovering shapes and devising simple experiments are just some of the ways to keep math alive and well throughout the summer.
3. Read Together As A Family
Bring in the family read aloud. Of course you will be encouraging your children to read over the summer. You might even read a bedtime story each night. A family read aloud is different, though. It’s a book the entire family shares at a given time each day – chapter by chapter. Even very young children are capable of understanding a book read far above their reading level when it’s read to them. Having everyone involved and making it a priority makes each read aloud special. It’s a way to expose your children to books they might not pick for themselves. It is also a great way to start family conversations and make memories that will last well beyond the summer.
For some families, regular weekly tutoring helps to drastically decrease the amount of information lost over the summer. In addition to retaining information, special needs tutoring can help boost your child’s learning and help catch them back up to grade level if they’ve fallen behind. With the technology advances over the past decade, there’s no need to reschedule your summer plans. Online tutoring allows your child to learn no matter where they are, at home or abroad!
With a bit of effort on your part, you can keep your children (and their brains) happy and active all summer long. Use these tips as a starting point. Once you start thinking about it, there are countless ways to incorporate a little learning into every day. From countless special education resources, to peer groups both in-person and online, there’s never a shortage of intellectual fun!