School is officially out and children eagerly begin their summer of delight in the sun. All the hard work they have done throughout the school year is rewarded with two months of excitement-packed activities. Children look forward to trips to the ballpark, swimming at the pool, summer camp, riding the ocean waves, fishing in the pond, and flying kites. Whatever plans you have for the summer, it always brings a smile of satisfaction to a child’s face. As a parent, you can give your child a fun-filled summer and ensure their mind stays stimulated intellectually, as well. Why is this important? Studies reveal that during the summer students lose academic ability. So, just how can parents help their child stay up to grade level during the summer? Here are 4 educational vacation ideas you can do this summer.
Implement a Social Studies Theme into Your Vacation
Rich history fills our country. All across the United States discover a multitude of interesting historical sites, museums, and reenactments. Select a location that allows you to divide your time between educational opportunities to explore history and stimulate the mind with “free” time to have fun and stimulate the senses and body. For example, just a few steps from the River Walk, a stop at The Alamo is a great way to learn about our state history while visiting San Antonio.
Vacationing usually always entails traveling, and what better way to spend your time than in reading. Make the whole experience more special by allowing your child to select books from the library to bring or purchasing him or her a few books to take. If you feel your child is a reluctant reader, be sure to approach it in a fun way; you do not want the reading time to be a chore or something that is forced. They will get more out of the books and experience when they choose to read on their own. If your child is very young and not reading yet, looking at books is a great pre-reading activity.
Another traveling companion to bring along that will help stimulate the mind is activity books. Books with a variety of puzzles are wonderful for exercising the brain and helping the time to pass.
Since children are at risk to lose math material during vacation, why not add a bit of basic addition and subtraction practice while on vacation. No, you do not have to bring along the flashcards; that would turn off the children, but you can bring some cash. When you dine out or attend an activity, invite your children to help you figure out the total bill, figure out what bills to give the clerk, and estimate how much change you will get back. Make the whole experience fun with your attitude and provide them with an added incentive – if they get something right, they earn a “piece” of the money for a souvenir, treat, or so on.
Journaling is an excellent way for children to preserve the vacation memory in their own terms. In addition, the writing experience is mentally stimulating, emotionally relaxing, and creatively rewarding. Overall, the results will be looked on in years to come with satisfaction. Now, it’s true, not everyone loves to write and for some, it is a challenge and struggle. So, it is important to instill enthusiasm for the idea, then let the children create and write as much or as little as they desire (as long as they are writing). Begin by allowing the children to select a special book that will serve as their journal for the vacation and a new writing tool of their choice. Explain that this will be their vacation memory book; in the book, they can write and/or draw what they saw, what they did, what they thought, and how they felt during the vacation. Then, set aside some time each evening for work on the memory book. If you really want to see the children involved with this project, join them and make a book yourself.
Vacations are a time to enjoy family, relax, and have a lot of fun. Children, however, are at increased risk of losing what they have learned in school unless mental stimulation occurs throughout the year. By adding educational activities to your vacation, you ensure your child keeps ahead.
If you would like to discuss ideas for summer for your child, contact The Tenney School today!