Summer Learning Ideas!
Is anyone else counting down the days until summer is officially here? I know the kids are, but can I get an AMEN from all the frazzled parents who won’t have to do the morning getting-ready-for-school-mayhem for a couple months?! Amen, people. Amen!
As much as I am looking forward to summer and a more relaxed schedule, I don’t want things to become a complete free-for-all. Some amount of free-for-all is fine, but the teachers have worked way too hard all year molding these students’ little minds to let their lessons fade into a distant memory. I realize that pigs will go flying past my kitchen window before I’m able to wrangle my children into any formal learning process during the summer, but that doesn’t mean all educational opportunities are lost. In fact, one of Island Prep’s core philosophies is the value of play-based education. Here are some educational ideas that seamlessly blend fun and learning that you can use all summer long.
- Read with your kids! The benefits of reading with your children is a list a mile long. During the summer, you have the chance to take things a little further than the regular bedtime stories. For example, are you taking any trips? Get books about the areas you’ll be visiting. Any blockbuster movies (based on a book) coming out your child is excited to see? Get the book first and read it out loud a chapter at a time. Try to put a book into action. We love Rosie Revere, Engineer and the kids are always inspired to make some kind of invention or contraption after we read it. When the summer is drawing to a close, there are some great books about starting school, or being the new kid in class too.
- Pretend/Dramatic Play. There are so many opportunities to incorporate learning into pretend play. ‘Grocery store’ is a great example. Younger children learn how to identify objects, shapes, colors (“Can you put the green apple into our basket?”). Older children can practice counting and math skills like addition and subtraction as well as writing practice by jotting down the grocery list. A few other ideas to get your creative juices flowing are restaurant, ice cream parlor, hospital, and zoo.
- Learning on-the-go. I’m sure you have some trips or activities planned, even if it’s just going to the beach or the Alligator Farm. Learning opportunities are everywhere! At the beach, talk about fish or sea turtles. What do they eat, what eats them? What is seaweed? Find some shells or even shark teeth. (There is a whole WEEK of TV programming about sharks, surely you can come up with some fun shark facts.) The beach is also a great opportunity to emphasize the importance of preserving our natural resources and keeping our beaches clean. Take a walk with your children and pick up all the litter you can find. Don’t even let me get started talking about the Alligator Farm or MOSH in Jacksonville. These places are (literally) just huge learning experiences.
- Lastly, get some fresh air! This point goes along with the beach idea above, but it’s worth reiterating. We are so lucky to live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, so take full advantage! There are invigorating (ahem, ICE COLD) springs nearby. There are tons of parks and walking trails. Children learn so much by being outside and getting their hands dirty. I read a wonderful book recently called There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather. It is about the Scandinavian parenting style and educational system, but the main takeaway is the emphasis on unstructured, outdoor play. The book really helped open my eyes to how important it is to let my children spend time outside without me constantly hovering, peppering them with directions.
Well shoot, after writing this I’m even more excited for summer break to arrive! I’d love to hear your ideas for helping children stay sharp over the summer, did I forget anything? Visit us @islandprep on Instagram or Facebook and tell us your ideas.
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