Learning All Summer Long: Fun, brain-boosting activities for kids
(Family Features) Lazy summer days may sound refreshing to parents, however, they may be detrimental to their children’s educational advancement. A study by Dr. Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, reveals that students can lose an average of one to three months of what they learned upon returning back to school after summer break.
Parents can help their children avoid this “summer slide” by reinvigorating creativity, innovation and education during the summer. When you provide your kids with brain-stimulating experiences during the summer, you can help them to retain what they spent all year learning. This could help them begin the new school year with higher aptitude and give them a competitive educational edge. After all, knowledge is power.
When looking for activities for your kids during their break, think beyond the pool. There are many ways to get those brain juices flowing throughout the warmer weather months. Here are several engaging activities your kids will think are so fun they won’t even know they’re learning.
Use books for family bonding
A family book club is a great way to get in more bonding time while also encouraging a love of reading. The children’s section of the local library or bookstore is a great place to find books that also tie in scientific lessons. Kids will love digging into tales about dinosaurs, exploring new galaxies in space and reading about the biology of deep-sea creatures. Discuss any characters, plot and theme ideas in an interactive fashion that allows every family member to take part in a stimulating literary discussion.
Celebrate the curious mind
Does your child have a curious mind? Encourage inquisitiveness by enrolling them in a specialized summer camp, such as those offered by Camp Invention, which is supported by the United States Patent and Trademark Office with curriculum developed by inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Led by local educators, this weeklong experience immerses elementary school children in engaging real-world challenges where they can turn wonder into discoveries. Each themed module uses connections between science, technology, engineering and math to inspire innovation.
Use your community’s resources
Check your local museums, libraries and other community centers for classes, workshops and other great learning opportunities for your kids. Give them a journal to help them keep track of all the things that they are learning.
Talk to their teachers
Figure out what kind of lessons they will be covering in the upcoming school year and incorporate it into your summer schedule. For example, plan local field trips to historic monuments that they may be learning about in next year’s history class.
Give them a journal
Every child loves having a special spot to keep a record of their wonderful summer trips, times with friends and even drawings. Encourage them to keep a journal where they can tap into their scientific side by jotting down different discoveries — from tracking plant growth in the garden to drawing bugs in the backyard.
Questions to Consider When Finding a Camp
Many parents fondly look back on spending their own childhood summer days at camp. And because today’s camps offer a much larger spectrum of specialty programs, while also featuring a more individualized experience for youngsters, Camp Invention, a premier summer enrichment day camp program, suggests asking these questions to help select the perfect summertime program:
- Does your child have special interests or talents that they would like to build on or develop?
- Is your child willing to try or learn new things?
- What goals do you have for your child while they attend summer camp?
- How much can you afford for a camp program?
Building Science Skills at Home
Because science is everywhere, it’s easy to make every day a learning experience that inspires curiosity for your little one. Here are a few ways to incorporate this important subject into your family’s daily summer routine:
Vacations are a great way to expand scientific knowledge through exploration. Point out the rock formations while visiting a national park, discuss animal tracks while taking a hike or check out the natural history museum in the town you are visiting.
Use current newsworthy topics to start a science-related discussion with your kids. From weather patterns to erupting volcanoes, the news is full of curious discoveries for their expanding minds.
Stock up on books, newspaper articles, puzzles, games, videos and other valuable learning tools that inspire science-related discoveries. Keep them in a centralized spot so your kids can access them at any time.
It’s easy to break up the boredom of summer break with a few engaging activities that will get your kids off to a great start in the coming school year. For more information, visit www.campinvention.org or www.facebook.com/campinvention.
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