Make Learning Fun This Summer
Make Learning Fun This Summer
By: Robin Noble
Summer is an exciting time for our children, as well as for ourselves. But, just because they’re not headed to school every weekday morning doesn’t mean the learning has to end. After all, your child never really stops learning, but without a little bit of your guidance, it can be difficult to get back into the rhythm of study when the school year starts back up.
Making your children work through stale workbooks and worksheets isn’t an ideal way to spend a busy summer vacation. So how do you keep your kids away from a full summer backslide?
Turn it Into a Game
Challenge your children to create their own card or board game about a subject their currently passionate about. It could be a character from a show, a sport, or a hobby. To your kids, it’s a simple and fun task, but what they’re actually doing is:
- Gaining the ability to research outside of schoolwork
- Designing patterns
- Creating rules
- Strategically thinking
- Building a game from scratch
Plan Impromptu Trips
Taking a day trip around your city and state can be tons, and you can turn it into an educational surprise. Do a little digging beforehand, find some out of the box events, or locations to take your kids that will bring learning to them. Try visiting a living history museum, where your child can learn about the past by participating in the present. Take a tour of a historic town, go to a fun family-friendly concert that sparks an interest in music styles they might not be familiar with. Take a trip to animal sanctuaries to learn about animal husbandry and ethics. Visit a working ranch, a planetarium, or even a renaissance fair to inspire new hobbies.
It doesn’t matter how “out there” the activity might seem. Learning experiences can happen almost anywhere. The key is to find exciting, hands-on experiences that bring learning to life. Get them actively listening and seeing the brilliance of the world around them. They get a fun summer day out and are also learning to:
- Use their senses in new and daring ways.
- Learning history by being a part of it for a day.
- Discovering new ways to look at the world in which they live.
- Encourage their minds to retain information in distinct ways.
Teach Your Child the Importance of Self-Care
Not every bit of learning has to immediately stick, or even make them a more engaged student in the classroom. It’s also important, as parents, to show our children the value of self-care from a young age. Teaching our kids how to slowly become more responsible for their behaviors, hygiene, and emotions is a daily task. But as we’re likely spending a good majority of our days with our children in the summer, it’s a great time to see what they have and have not grasped.
Whether you’re promoting healthy practices during reading time or creating opportunities for self-reflection through nightly journaling, any chance to build up healthy life habits are ones we should never take for granted.
Promote Self Motivation
Whether your child is six or sixteen, encouraging self-motivation will help them through their school years to come. At any age, encourage your child to “play”. In their adolescent years, this might mean creating fun games out of more than just studying and daily chores. Let your kids explore and play without immediately evaluating the outcome. As tempting as it is to guide your kids to be passionate about the same things you are, never underestimate the need to develop individual passions. Give them every chance to find something they may love now and in the future.
As for your older children, throughout their youth, you’ve likely focused on their efforts and aimed to inspire them. Now might be the time to let them stumble and find their footing on their own. As parents, we often want to pick our kids up once they’ve taken a misstep, but a large part of self-motivation is letting them face the natural consequences of their actions. So long as those actions aren’t harming them or others, it’s a chance to problem solve in their own time. They’ll learn:
- An eagerness for discovery.
- Problem-solving on their own.
- To overcome obstacles.
- To take pride in their positive actions.
Have fun with your kids this summer! Discover and learn together. Get to know how they learn and how they’re continuing to develop their personal learning styles. When the school year starts back up, you’ll have an easier time helping them with their schoolwork in effective, efficient, and positive ways.