Summer Playing OutsideDuring the summer the last thing you and your kiddos are thinking about are lessons, instructions and classrooms. School is out for a few glorious weeks and your focus is on one very important thing–fun! But the summer is a great time for your little ones to continue learning. After all, their brains are continuing to grow and develop each day. 

School’s Out, Learning is In

Without a teacher at the front of the class, it’s up to you to keep your kids engaged and entertained during summer vacation. Fear not! There are so many opportunities for learning during the summer months. Lots of everyday events can become teachable moments. Hands-on games, activities and experiments keep things casual while the learning continues-even when they don’t know it.

Go Outside and Play

The world is your oyster when you let Mother Nature be the teacher. A scavenger hunt is perfect for exploring a multitude of plants, bugs and rock specimens. Younger kids can drawer pictures of what they see while the older kids can keep a journal with written descriptions and stories of the day. And who doesn’t want to catch fireflies at night? Did you know that fireflies are really beetles? That’s because they have four wings and true flies have two. There’s something new for everyone to learn every day!

The kids may get a kick out of planting a garden with their favorite-colored flowers or creating a pumpkin patch that they can nurture all summer long as they watch it grower bigger and bigger. They may even develop an interest in eating vegetables if they’ve grown them themselves. Teaching children at an early age to take care of their bodies by eating healthy foods is a lesson that they can practice for a lifetime.

Your backyard can be the backdrop for many a learning activity. Make it experiment central, keeping the mess out of the house. Bubbles, anyone? Build a volcano, paint rocks. Or create your own obstacle course to keep bodies in motion. It’s like phys ed, only better.

For the Love of Reading

For those inevitable rainy days, when it’s just too hot, or when a bit of quiet time is in order, the library is your friend. Most every library has children’s summer programs, so make it a regular outing. Take advantage of scheduled events and activities as well as just hanging out reading a few good books together. Studies have shown that kids who don’t read over the summer lose two months of reading development, often referred to as ‘summer slide’. Just as physical activity keeps muscles in shape, reading keeps the brain in shape.

Keep a stash of puzzles and activity books on hand, too. Puzzles of all kinds help kids learn how to concentrate, be persistent and offer numerous opportunities to solve problems. All of these are crucial for your child’s developing brains, growth mindsets and success come the new school year.