Three fun things to do this summer with your kids that will keep them learning

As parents, we’re often trying to find the right balance between making sure our kids are having fun and making sure we’re saving time for learning. (Quick aside: of course learning can be fun, but let’s just say our kids tend to prefer running through sprinklers than playing math games). This is especially true in the summer when the weather is nice, the responsibilities few, and friends are bountiful. But if you’re creative, you can keep the love of learning afire during the long summer days until school starts-up again. We’ve brainstormed three fun things to do that both are educational and that your kids will like.

Get Blogging

If our bedtime-stalling discussions are any indication, kids love to talk about things they’re passionate about. There are few ways better to keep practicing your writing skills than with a blog, and kids love blogging. They can choose any topic they want: maybe they want to write fiction, maybe they want to journal, or maybe they want to write movie reviews. The topic doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they’re writing a little bit every day and they’re learning how to concisely convey their thoughts. The forum is up to you. You can have them make a quick wordpress blog at wordpress.com or simply have them write in a text file.

Get Moving. Get Math-ing.

Summer is a perfect time for outdoor activities. Many sports have a numbers component. Put them together and you have a great, educational summer activity. So, let’s say your kid is a big swimmer, and she wants to get better at her breaststroke. All you need is a stopwatch and a few solid weeks at the pool. Once you have your data, you can have her calculate her percentage decrease in time per lap per week. She can calculate her average lap time and compare her first-lap times and her final-lap times. Pick a skill that she might learn this year in math (addition, percentages, decimals, etc.) and show her how she can use math to get better at something she likes doing.

Get Planning

Kids (especially younger kids) love projects, and with a little structure, they can be great learning opportunities. A six year old we know decided she wanted to host a purple party. Why a purple party? Because she likes the color purple, and she missed her school friends. So, she along with her grandmother laid out the plans for the Purple Party. First, they made a list of invitees, activities, and supplies needed. The child wrote and addressed the invitations (and the grandma stealthily placed a note in the envelope for the invitees parents, because honestly: what the heck is a purple party?) They then crafted the party favors and decorations (the purple balloon hats were a huge hit). Finally, they prepared the venue (grandma’s house) for the big day. Writing, organization, planning, and crafting; she put the skills she learned in kindergarten toward something she was very excited about. It can be as simple as a woodworking project with dad or as elaborate as a purple party. What’s important is that the child owns the process and reaps the reward of the result.

Summertime, and the living (should be) easy

It’s ok that a kid’s summer is mostly easy and breezy. School is hard, and summer is a great way to recharge. But with a little ingenuity, you can take a few hours out of each week and reinforce the idea that learning is a life skill applicable the whole-year ’round. Have fun with your activities, and if you do something great with your child this summer and need to brag about it, please let us know!

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