11 Ways to Keep Children Learning Over the Summer

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 Summer is the time for fun, fun, fun! School is out no more hitting the books. The only problem is that much of what was learned during the school year is forgotten, “out of sight, out of mind.” Not so with these ten fun educational activities that will keep the children looking for more and not even realizing that they're  learning.

1 1. Help your child make a summer calendar for June, July, and August.They can use crayons, pencils, paint, rulers to color them in and add special things that they did over the summer. This will help to reinforce number recognition and counting. An effective way to work on addition and subtraction would be to say: “How many days till we go to the beach? or How many days ago did we go to see grandma and grandpa?" even “How many days till you go back to school?”(of course they may not want to think about that!)


2. Have your child, if he/she is old enough, take pictures of different things that you do over the summer. This will be especially exciting if you travel somewhere. They can put their photographs in a nice scrapbook and write a few  sentences about them. Make sure correct punctuation and   grammar are used. What a great memory to look back on. When the school  year begins, this book can be shared in class.

3.  Make musical instruments from materials that are found around the 
house. Use towel/toilet paper rolls, decorate them with paint, then put small
pebbles inside. Close each end with cloth, or paper then glue them on or secure with rubber bands. This can be used as a rattle or rain stick.  Other instruments that they can make are drums, a box guitar, or a maraca, etc. http://www.howcast.com/guides/841-how-to-make-musical-instruments-for-kids/

4. Cooking and measuring ingredients help with math skills. 
Have the kids read the recipe and measure the ingredients correctly. 
Here’s a cool website that will help get you and the kids cooking some 
yummy recipes. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/packages/recipes-for-kids/cooking-with- kids.html

5 If your child has a computer or tablet, take advantage of it. Have him/her become a web ranger. They will go on quests and learn about national parks.. It will help enhance skills in history and geography because they will be asked to solve mysteries and puzzles, play games and more. Check it out on this website: http://www.nps.gov/webrangers/ 

6. Begin a family garden. Decide what type of garden it will be: flower, vegetable, herbs or a combination. Then read up on it. Learn about the particular plants that will be 
used, find out where they should be
placed in the sun or shade. What types of soil are best,etc.They can use some math measuring skills to figure out how far to space each plant. They can also measure plants to estimate the growth. In addition to this, they might try an interesting science experiment to see if seeds grow faster in sun or darkness and keep a written record. You can go to this website for more information.  http://www.kidsgardening.org/

7. When riding in the car have your child read signs, names of cities, towns, parks, or look for license plates from different states and figure out what states are the farthest away from them, or they can count the number of license plates they see from the different states. Another game that is fun when traveling is to start with the letter A and name a city, state, or country that begins with that letter, go through the entire alphabet. A variation of this would be to say a state, city, or country name and the next person has to come up with a name beginning with the last letter of the place just said. Austin/Nebraska, Anchorage/Evansville, and so on. Everyone in the car plays to make it more fun.

8.  For those would be scientists, start a rock or critter collection. See how many different rocks/ critters they can discover and find information about them in a book or on the web. They can make a scrapbook with photographs and information about the rocks or critters that they have collected.This is a great site for rock collecting, your child will have loads of fun while learning. http://www.kidsloverocks.com/html/guide_to_
collecting.html. This is just right for collecting those critters. http://www.kidactivities.net/category/Science-Kids-Collecting-Insects.aspx

9. Have a scavenger or treasure hunt. You will have to write out directions as to where to find something and your child will have to read it in order to find the prize. This website has printable check lists, 10 ideas for scavenger hunts as well as tips and tricks. http://www.mykidsadventures.com/scavenger-hunt-ideas/
This pinterest page has loads of ideas on this subject  https://www.pinterest.com/tiffanymoore2/scavenger-hunt-ideas-for-kids/

10. Plan a family fun day. Have your child write everything down from the menu to the games that will be played.Here are some ideas that can be written down.
· Describe the activity. What will you do? Will you play games, go for a swim, watch a movie?
· How will you prepare ahead of time. Will you need tickets, a picnic lunch, or reservation?
· What supplies will you require.
· How much will it cost?
· Who will be invited?
Make sure that you or your child takes pictures and then he/she can make an online photo album, write a few sentences about each image and email it to all of those who attended.

11. You can play word games such as scrabble, to work on spelling skills, board games like Yahtzee to help with math skills, card games like war which willutilize number skills, or word bingo.  I created this one.
Sight Word Games
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For more ideas, check out these websites:
http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/profdev073.shtml
http://www.readingrockets.org/article/get-ready-summer-ideas-teachers-share-families
http://www.massliteracy.org/how-to-prevent-summer-learning-loss-in-elementary-school-students/
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by Deann Marin

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