School is slowly winding down and summer is heating up! If you’re anything like me, you are ready for a change of pace. A nice relaxing day at home with absolutely nothing on the agenda sounds like a tiny slice of Heaven right about now.
Unfortunately, that majestic peacefulness we’ve longed for will soon be traded in for the long days of summer. The kids will begin to whine, complain and bicker. The days will become boring and unstructured. You’ll be tempted to throw in the towel and start school back up, a month before planned. But don’t! Instead, fill your days with fun learning.
Days filled with art, fort building and fun snacks will make summer fun again. And you don’t need to worry about your kiddos losing all of the information you’ve been drilling into them for the last 9 months. By purposefully learning throughout the summer, you’ll keep your kids sharp as a tack and ready to jump right back into school in the fall.
With our 10 ways to keep kids learning through the summer, you don’t have to worry about planning. Just train yourself to think of the learning process as a life-long journey, instead of having a “9 months of school” mindset! You’ll be amazed how much your kids can learn when you aren’t even trying to teach them!
There is so much to be learned in nature. Just getting outdoors and enjoying fresh air is a great way to get your brain rolling. Whether you are hiking local park trails or just playing in your backyard, there is always an opportunity to learn. Many public parks even have informative signs posted throughout the area, letting you know information like native plants, animals and history of the area. Getting outside opens the door for plenty of science discussions about plants, animals, clouds, and life.
It’s no secret that reading is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge. Try hosting a summer reading challenge that encourages your kids to read a certain number of books this summer or read a book from different genres. Amp up the excitement by holding a “kick off party” and creating a fun incentive. Sure, your kiddos will read when forced but by adding goals with prizes, you’ve upped the ante. Make sure you prepare rewards for the kids who tried but didn’t reach their goal. By allowing your kids to choose books that interest them is a great way to instill a love of reading.
Take a cue from unschoolers this summer by allowing your kids to follow their natural love of learning. Find the opportunity to learn in every day fun. Whether you choose to visit a local theater, do fun experiments, go geocaching, make homemade ice cream, host a talent show or create your own YouTube videos, your kids will be learning through life.
Everyone knows that summer is the best time to perfect your gardening skills but it’s also a great time to add a new skill to your resume. Choose a skill and practice, practice, practice over the summer break. Learn to knit, build a shelf, work on your photography, hone your survival skills, or become a beekeeper. Summer is the perfect time to broaden your horizon and try new things!
Document the Year:
The main reason I started blogging was because I wanted a place to keep track of our homeschool fun. Instead of using a blog, grab a blank scrapbook and get to work. Let your kiddos choose the highlights of the school year, from the best field trips to their favorite curriculum. Allow them to to fill in the details, complete with photos. They’ll love creating their own yearbook to enjoy for years to come.
Instill Good Work Ethic:
There’s no time like the present to make sure your kids are hard workers. Whether you decide to volunteer or just take on a big project at home, make sure the kids are working hard and they will value the fruits of their labor. An easy way to find a project is to offer your helping hand to elderly neighbors. They’d love help raking leaves, painting their house or giving their dog a bath.
Give your kiddos $10 and allow them to choose what they spend their money on. You’ll be shocked at what they buy when they have to use their own money. You can practice money-management skills when you’re at the ice cream truck, carnival or yard sales.
Plan a Virtual Vacation:
It’s easier to do than you might think. Simply pick a destination and research things to do or see in the area. With the power of YouTube, you can travel virtually any place you wish! Another fun option is to use the History Here app (available for Apple and Android) to find fun historical places. Who knew I lived within driving distance of Bonnie and Clyde’s home?
Learn Where You Are:
If you’re like us, you tend to spend a lot of time on the go during the summer months. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning! We love audio books to help deal with hours in the car. If audio books aren’t your thing, you can play all kinds of games! Have one child count the red cars and another count the white cars and see which color you pass more often on your commute. See how many stop signs you can spot. Find every letter of the alphabet on the signs you pass. There are tons of other fun car ride games floating all around the internet. Being stuck in waiting rooms doesn’t’ have to be boring. Try stumping each other with random facts or play the tried-and-true favorite “I-Spy.” No matter where you are this summer, there is still opportunity to learn!
Take a Trip:
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a stash of money saved that would allow us to travel wherever we wanted, without worrying about a thing? Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. So while we won’t be traveling to the Grand Canyon or Mount Rushmore this year, we can still take educational road trips. All you need is a little cash, a full tank of gas and an entire day with nothing to do but create your own adventure . Hop in the car and start driving. Don’t worry about planning, just let the kids help navigate. Explore places you’ve never been. Drive as far as time allows, stopping to check out fun sites, fruit markets or whatever you stumble upon. Encourage your kids to really visit with the people they come in contact with. Ask the farmer details about his farm when you stop at a roadside farmer’s market. Talk to the man at the toll booth about the craziest vehicle he’s ever seen. Laugh with the waiter at the mom-and-pop diner. Just relax and enjoy a day, exploring the area with the ones you love. Bonus points if you leave all electronics at home! The biggest lesson they’ll gain from a day of exploring is to take time to enjoy life with the ones you love.
When learning becomes a way of life, you don’t have to use books to gain knowledge. Simply looking for the opportunity to learn in your everyday life will keep your kids learning through summer and throughout their entire life!