5 Ways to Keep the Learning Going During Summer
Even if you adore spending all day everyday with your children, summer can still be difficult for moms. It’s days on end of keeping your children entertained. And even though they swear up and down that they are SOOOO glad that school is out, we all know they get bored. Keeping them entertained isn’t the only task we face during the summer months. As moms, we also need to find ways to keep them learning throughout the summer. Every mom knows that keeping the kids learning (even if it’s on a much smaller scale than during the school months) helps tremendously when it’s time to go back to school. It keeps their learning skills fresh (yes, learning is a skill), and usually entertains them at the same time. This doesn’t mean you have to have ‘school time’ a few days a week. It can be as simple as our recent trip to the zoo, or an afternoon at the park. Here are five easy ways to keep your children learning throughout their summer break!
1. Visit your local museum. Most cities have a science museum or art museum geared toward children. We are lucky enough to have a few right in town, and we also live within an hour or so of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C. Museums are great places for your children to learn about a variety of things, and many offer hands-on kid-friendly activities throughout the day. Our local science museum is one of our favorite places to go all year long.
On a trip earlier this week, the kiddos were able to see and learn how the museum trains rats to play basketball, and observe a cow eye dissection. Every time we go they learn something new, whether it’s about the human body, plants and ecosystems, or outer space. It’s also a fabulous way to get out of the heat on a particularly hot day!
2. Experiment at home. Don’t have the time, energy, or money to visit your local museum? Or don’t have a museum nearby? Experiment and learn with your children at home. Children love to experiment and they never realize how much they are learning! You can do a simple online search and find loads of easy and inexpensive science experiments you can do at home using everyday household items. Steve Spangler Science is our favorite online science store. They have tons of science-inspired activity kits for kids that are perfect for learning and fun, and fairly inexpensive!
3. Read with your children. Reading is also a great way to keep the school mentality going. Reading with or to your children is such a great way to spend quality time with them, too. I recently posted on my blog about a few summer reading titles for kids that have been a hit at our house. Reading is an activity that works with a variety of ages, and there are so many new and exciting worlds and characters that await your child in the pages of a good book!
4. Go outside. There are so many ways that merely going outside to play can be a learning experience. Go to your local park for the afternoon and walk the trails, pointing out different bugs and flowers as you walk by. Go on a hike or a picnic. Build a tree house or fort. Make mud pies. Start a butterfly collection. Being outdoors does something magical to a child. They are able to play freely, and the learning just comes naturally! Be sure to check out fellow Chiquita Mom Vanessa’s post “6 DIY Outdoor Activities for Kids.”
5. Play games. Whether they are card games, board games, outdoor games, or video games, there is a large selection of games available that are created to be educational, teaching a variety of skills and topics. We have several educational games from ThinkFun, which is a company that offers a wide selection of board, card, and puzzle games for kids of all ages (even toddlers). Children learn best through play, and playing a game with your child that reaffirms a particular skill is also a great way to help the information ‘stick’. It’s a proven fact that children retain information learned through play much better.
So there’s five easy ways to keep your children learning all summer long. Do you have any ideas and tips for summer learning to share? I would love to hear them! I have four kiddos at home to keep entertained!