I remember when I was a kid (and I know this hasn’t changed!) that when it was the last few days of school we would get incredibly excited that we would have some time off to relax and enjoy the summer. I think though, one big difference between 20 years ago and now, is that more and more studies are being done on summer and the loss of education. I do vaguely remember being quite lost when the new school year would start, but I don’t think anyone really thought anything about this. Just that we needed refresher courses. But, a few studies have been done as of late in the past few years and it simply states that Children of any age actually lose 20% of what they learned during the school year. That’s crazy! If you want to keep your child’s mind fresh and want to continue their education on your own during the summer months – without the aid of school, this can be done. In fact, if you take a look below you will find quite a few ideas and resources to keep the ball rolling and maybe even raise your child’s aptitude so when they continue on to their next grade they will be all that much more prepared and ready for what is to come.
Cooking stores, toy stores and craft stores all have these fun little kits where your child and you can make almost anything that they want to. From bird feeders to a recipe on how to make “dirt” to model airplanes. All of these kits give your child instructions that helps with reading and following directions, as well as the ability to allow them to see the end result up close and personal – it’s really gratifying for the child to see something that is finished that they know they had a hand in. Make sure that you try to find activities that are either right at your child’s comprehension level or one level up. This way they still enjoy the activity and don’t get frustrated, but they also learn something valuable along the way that they didn’t know about before. Most kits have some sort of an age number on them i.e.; for children ages 5-10 or 3-6, etc. So make sure you pay attention to these numbers.
The great thing about learning responsibilities is that kids can virtually learn it at almost any school age (including pre-school). You just have to know what to or how to teach them. you want them to feel like they did a good thing, but you also don’t want to make the responsibility to high because if they fail it’s going to sort of misconstrue the reasoning behind the responsibility. Just make sure its age appropriate. This can include something small like setting the table, walking the dog, washing the car, painting a fence, etc. Other forms of responsibility in terms of being on time, following directions and serving others can even include donating their time to a soup kitchen, volunteering at a local kids hospital, or babysitting.
Not only is a garden a great way to learn; about measurements when it comes to water and soil, or learning about different plants and how they grow, but making a garden also teaches your kids about where certain plants or foods come from, and what end product they will see when the seed starts to grow. You’d be surprised in this day and age how many older folks (especially in their 20s) have no idea where potatoes, bananas or coconuts (coconuts!) come from or how they grow. Something tells me that these are the kids that never got dirty in the garden and learned about how and why things grow! This can also be a really satisfying experience for your kids if you make dinners at home because then you can use ingredients that they helped to plant and grow in your dishes and meals.
Kids can learn about all sorts of jobs or careers – things they might want to be as an adult, but another thing to consider besides the usual careers is to allow them to see other trades especially in the creativity niche. Consider looking into local businesses or companies that offer showing, classes or even hands on activities in things like jelly bean making, glass blowing, dream catchers, etc.