Friday, June 08, 2012

Learning Doesn't Stop When School’s Out for the Summer!


Just because your kids have a long summer break stretching ahead of them doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel and use the TV as a babysitter.

It may seem like a daunting task to plan enriching, stimulating summer activities for your kids, but the good news is that keeping your kids engaged and entertained is simpler than you may think. It's also one surefire way to make sure that your kids legitimately enjoy their summer vacation - without complaining of boredom.

Continued Learning Is Key

According to the assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Education and author of Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards, Tonya Perry, PhD, children's learning is affected by taking a two-month break each summer. Continued learning both inside and outside of school doors is critical to help kids retain important concepts and grasp new information when they start the next school year.
As a result, many kids who don't participate in educational activities over summer break often score significantly lower on standardized tests after concluding summer vacation, compared to test scores from the beginning of the summer.

Start with Summer Reading

If you're pressed for time, summer reading is one great activity to keep your kids occupied and enrich their learning at the same time - at no charge to you. You can sign your kids up for a summer reading program at the local library; if there isn't a library close by, there are several websites with online summer reading programs, including Scholastic and Barnes & Noble.
For example, in the Barnes & Noble summer reading program, participating kids can read any eight books and record them in their online reading journal. Once the reading journal has been completed, it must be turned into a local Barnes & Noble, where your child will earn a free book for completing their summer reading list. This rewards-based program makes it easier for kids to stick to a reading schedule when there is a prize in sight for finishing their summer reading.

Focus on Activity

Keep in mind that summer education doesn't have to revolve around books exclusively. When you think outside of the box, you can include fun activities in your day-to-day schedule that will keep your kids active and teach them something at the same time.
Why not try growing summer vegetables in a homemade vegetable garden as a family? This is one simple way to teach your kids about science by encouraging them to research seasonal vegetables online that will grow well in your climate and plotting their own garden chart. Your kids will have something to look forward to each day as they tend to their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labor!

Bethany Ramos is a full-time freelance writer with a five-month-old baby who is passionate about childhood development. She also co-owns her own e-commerce website,  The Coffee Bump.