Doing educational activities for the sake of doing educational activities will almost always backfire on you. That doesn’t mean you can’t do educational activities – it means you might want to consider your motives. We all want our kids to continue learning over the summer break. The thing is, kids can smell “educational activity” a mile away and they are likely to shut you down before you start.
Instead, think of activities in terms of their fun factor before you think “educational.” Young kids learn through hands-on activities. Whether you have a child with special needs or not, a quick Pinterest search or internet search of special education resources can lead you to a vast array of activities that are fun and happen to be educational. Pick a few and try them this summer. Keep it relaxed and let your kids take the lead. You’ll be surprised at what they learn.
Hands On Learning Can Be Fun!
Rainy Day? Make your own play-doh. There are tons of recipes to try. Have some Kool-Aid packets on hand to dye and scent the doh. Between the mixing, kneading and modeling you will have happy kids for a few hours. Get out the cookie cutters and a rolling pin (A full, unopened bottle of wine can substitute for a rolling pin.) and let your kids have at it. Challenge them to make 3D shapes as well as flat ones. Experiment with mixing colors to see what happens.
Relax – it’s all washable.
Make a garden. No matter where you live, something grows. If you have space, have your kids help you plot out a small garden. Using the internet and library books, decide what to grow. It does not have to be perfect, it just has to be theirs. Clear the plot, till and enhance the soil (this is a good time to try composting) and let them plant. Have them make garden markers. Have them water the garden and weed the garden. (If your children are very young, it can help to plant lollipops every other week or so as an enticement to get them out there weeding.) Once things are growing, research recipes for what you’re growing. You’ll be surprised at what even the pickiest eater will eat when they’ve grown it themselves.
Build something. Anything will do. You can stay inside and make a geodome from old newspapers. You can head outside and make a hummingbird feeder. You can buy up a bunch of pool noodles and make a gigantic yard game – croquet, tic-tac-toe or even a version of bocce ball. The key is to have your kids do the work (with your guidance). Once they’ve built whatever they choose to build, USE it. Make it a focal point in your life. Your focus on their efforts will pay off as they get older.
Learning happens all the time and everywhere. It’s your job to decide where and when you’re going to spend your time. Take some time to unplug and get outside and do something fun during the warmer months. You won’t regret it.
What fun activities does your family participate in? Please share in the comment section below!