Keep your Kids Learning Over the Summer Break!
June 18, 2013
The school year is almost over and every child’s favourite two months are about to begin. Here are some tips on how to keep your child’s mind sharp and avoid the summer brain drain!
Favour family activities that stimulate your children’s curiosity
Your goal isn’t to review the entire school year’s curriculum, but rather to provide your children with fun learning experiences. Here are some ideas for activities that can be developed in an educational way to stimulate curiosity and a love of learning in your child.
Take a stroll and collect items to create a herbarium or decorations
Take a walk with your family. While you enjoy the benefits of fresh air and exercise, collect leaves, flowers, rocks, shells, etc. Once you get home, you can then start a herbarium or create some interior decorations: floral arrangements, pebble painting, glass jars filled with smooth stones to make pretty candle holders, etc.
Discover the animal kingdom at the zoo!
A family outing at the zoo can also be a great learning experience. Some zoos offer interactive presentations on the various aspects of animal life. Kids love these without even realizing they are learning in the process.
Twinkle, twinkle starry night...
Of course, you can start with a family outing to the planetarium to introduce your child to the various constellations, but it’s just as much fun to lie on a large blanket and stargaze on a warm summer night. Help your child find the North Star and search for the Big and Little Dippers, Cassiopeia or Draco. Your children will discover the beauty of night skies and the infinite vastness of space.
Nurture your child’s creativity
Drawing and coloring are perfect examples of simple activities that require creativity and concentration. Forget the traditional white blank page. You can now find a variety of online drawing tools or visit your local art shop for colorful drawing kits (great for a rainy day). Better yet, let your kid go nuts with some chalk and turn your driveway into a grand canvas! You can also make funny backgrounds and then take pictures with your kids in these.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” J. Addison
Reading is a healthy, relaxing and rewarding activity that everyone can afford. Based on your child’s age and interests, find some reading material that he will enjoy (great authors, adventure, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, etc.)
Any reading is beneficial. The brain is like a muscle and needs to be exercised. It is important to remember that developing a love of reading is something that sometimes requires a little time and effort, like practicing a sport! Reading helps stimulate the imagination, increases general knowledge and improves vocabulary and grammar skills, all of which is done subconsciously. If your child asks you the meaning of certain words, help him look up a few of these in the dictionary; then, encourage him to do so by himself.
At dinner time, you can also ask your child to recount what happened today in the book he’s reading. This will give him the opportunity to practice his storytelling and oral communication skills, as well as his ability to summarize. You could also stimulate your child’s imagination and sense of deduction by asking him how he thinks the story will end!
Keep in mind that the back-to-school experience should not come as a shock
To instill healthy study habits, a desire to learn and the delight of success, try to keep your child in contact with simple and fun school exercises. According to his needs, you can ask him to spend 30 minutes per day to 2 hours a week doing “vacation homework”. This will help your child develop a work discipline and make the back-to-school transition easier.
Don’t get carried away, summer should still be a vacation!
These activities are intended to keep your child stimulated and avoid boredom. Of course, don’t overdo it. Your child shouldn’t be strained by piles of homework and activities throughout his vacation. The key is to balance a little stimulation with summer fun so that you fully enjoy your vacation.