Try These Kids' Summer Learning Activities
Jul 18, 2016
Summer vacation is the highlight of any kids’ year. With so much free time, it’s great for kids of all ages to get outside and have fun. But why should learning stop the second the school bells ring this June? Here are some fun ways to keep kids’ minds healthy while encouraging them to be social and play outside with these kids’ summer learning activities.
Why Do Children Need to Keep Learning During Their Summer Vacations?
Many parents consider summer vacations to be the most difficult time of year to find activities for their kids to be actively engaged in. Studies indicate that children experience significant learning losses when they’re not directly involved in educational activities for long periods of time.
Most children lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math and computation. Continuous learning, which is critical to kids’ cognitive and emotional development, can take a downturn during the summer months. Additionally, a lack of structured schedules and more time for TV, internet, and digital gaming can put many kids at a higher risk for obesity than when they’re in school.
Summer is the perfect time for kids to explore what interests them naturally. The school year’s curriculum, by contrast, tends to be very structured and guided: Kids are assigned topics and may not have the opportunity to engage themselves in their own personal interests. Maybe your child was particularly fascinated by the earth science unit that their biology teacher covered for only for one month. Did you notice that they seemed extra engaged in the Civil War unit? Take note of child’s extra enthusiasm during the school year for certain subjects and help them to delve deeper during their summer free time. Kids’ summer learning activities are the perfect opportunity for kids to get to know themselves in fun and engaging ways over the summer.
Plant A Backyard Garden
Did your kids ever wonder where all the veggies in the supermarket come from? Start an outdoor garden and let them sprout plants from seeds so they can witness the entire growth process from beginning to harvest. If you don’t have a separate garden area, there’s no need to worry. Most garden plants can be grown in containers on patios or balconies. Some of the best container plants include tomatoes, zucchini and squash, string beans, and herbs like basil and parsley. Most kids love to play in the dirt but probably do not realize that it comes from decomposed materials that were once living. Kids can learn do so much learning by just playing and digging around outside!
Learn About Animals
So much opportunity to learn about animals lies just in your backyard or public park. Wherever you live in the country, there are birds, lizards, deer, ants. worms and lots of other incredible local creatures. Kids’ summer learning activities can even include simply digging a small hole to discover different species of insects. Pick up a rock and see what has made a home underneath. Maybe you can find a snakeskin in the grass or even an interesting bird feather. Have your kids make a list of all the different types of animals and animal artifacts they find and then look them up online or check them out in books at the library. What is their lifecycle? Do they have interesting relatives that live in other parts of the world? What is an exoskeleton and how does it differ from our skeletons? Why does the snake shed its skin?
Take the kids to the local zoo to see creatures like tigers, penguins and monkeys. Do elephants exist in more than one part of the world? Are there different types of camels? What is the difference between crocodiles and alligators? Have kids pick their favorite animal at the zoo and then research them and then do a creative project like putting on a play about that animal or draw some pictures that show the animal’s habitat and how it raises its young. If you don’t have a computer at home, visit your local library and use theirs to do some research. Check out some books that the kids can take with them on their next adventure. They can bring the books on their next adventure to the backwoods, for instance, to help identify leaf types.
Visit the Beach or Aquarium
The beach or the aquarium are perfect places for kids to learn about science. There are lots of new species of animals to learn about including birds,fish and plants. Kids can learn about many different ecosystems that exist near and in streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. Lots of parks and recreation systems offer seining classes for kids where, as a group, they can pull a large net through calm water to collect organisms from the sea. The program will have a knowledgeable guide to teach kids about everything they have gathered with the net. All sorts of creatures may be gathered, including crabs, fish, shells, seaweed and some things that kids may not even have known existed.
Aquariums often have opportunities for kids to touch and feed creatures like rays and turtles. Some even have outdoor walking paths that narrate the natural landscape so kids can take a deeper look into the landscape. Summer is the perfect opportunity for kids to take a deeper look at the world around them and to realize that their surrounding offer limitless horizons of learning and wonder with awesome kids’ summer learning activities.
Kids don’t need to take trips or have computers to learn over the summer. With a bit of imagination, they can open their minds and continue to satisfy their appetite for learning. Pretend play isn’t just fun, it’s a vital part of children’s mental development. Take pretend play outdoors by encouraging kids to put on productions of their own. They can spend all day in the backyard rehearsing, then put on the production for their parents when they return home from work. Encourage arts and crafts (outside if the weather permits, but this can also be great as an indoor activity for rainy summer days).
If you have the time and budget, summer camp is a time-tested experience that can broaden your children’s horizons. Whether at sleep-away camp for a few weeks or at a local day camp, the possibilities for kids’ summer learning activities are seemingly endless.
While Summer camp help to increase social skills, children can learn many practical or survival skills they can’t learn electronically or in the classroom including:
- Horseback riding
- Rock climbing
- Stand up paddle boarding
- Performing arts such as music and drama
Lots of parks, local governments, and non-profits offer affordable summer camp options. There may even be scholarships available for families that have extra tight budgets. This presents an awesome opportunity for kids to get away from the television or computer and to spend time outside socializing with other kids and trying new things. Learning doesn’t necessarily need to mean reading, writing and math. Kids can learn new sports, skills and interesting fun facts as well.
Whatever you decide is the best summer activity for your children, it’s important for them to be active, engaged, and healthy during the summer months. Just because summer a time for much-deserved rest and relaxation, there are many ways that parents and guardians can encourage learning that’s both fun and intellectually stimulating. Allow your child the opportunity this summer to grow, learn, explore, and make memories that will last a lifetime with incredible kids’ summer learning activities.