Summer is unofficially here! At our home, school is already out. The advantage of homeschooling is we set our own schedules and I like to have June off–well kind of. When the children were younger, this truly was a month off, however it seems the older they get the more activities and social events keep creeping up. Nevertheless, no school is a wonderful feeling for us all.
Just because school is out, doesn’t mean learning has to stop, though. Here are seven ways you can keep learning and still have fun this summer.
Host A Summer Reading Club
I have written about this a few times over the years. A summer reading club is a great change from required reading, and keeps the kids engaged. If you want to encourage continual learning, nothing works better than encouraging reading.
Not only are books an amazing source of information, but they are also inspiration. Once a child gets excited about a topic, he will be heading down the rabbit hole of learning more about his new obsession.
Is it a problem is a child reads about only one subject all summer long? NO WAY!! That, my friends, is called independent research! Enjoying learning is the first step in becoming a lifelong learner.
Plant A Garden
Gardening is as much a science as an art. As an experienced gardener will tell you, it is a continual learning process. Even master gardeners are perpetual students of their craft.
Gardening does not have to be on a large scale to be beneficial. Even a small container garden of just a few potted plants is immensely educational.
This hands-on summer project also has the benefit of delicious built-in reward. Start planning and planting, then watch the learning grow!
Open a Lemonade Stand
The iconic kid-run enterprise is a wonderful learning opportunity. Marketing, accounting, customer service, planning, and time management are just some of the skills kids will pick up from running their own micro-business.
This is the type of lesson that makes learning real. It isn’t just word problems on a page that need to be answered. The work invested is engaging and enlightening. Most kids probably won’t even realize how much math they are using, they will just be happy to count their profits no matter how big or small.
Go for a Swim
Swimming is a life skill, one that you don’t truly appreciate until you are in a dangerous situation and need it to save your life. I always tell my children that swimming lessons is the one non-negotiable in my book. They will take swimming lessons every summer–it’s up to them whether they enjoy it or not.
However, swimming is not just a survival skill, it is also a path to better learning. Swimming has proven benefits to the brain, including increased blood flow and mood elevation. However, swimming also leads to new neuron creation and development of the centers for language.
Children who swim regularly will experience a boost in language and reading skills simply from kicking around in the water!
Go Take a Hike
Nature Deficit Disorder is real, and serious. Children need time outdoors to grow and learn. Spending time out in nature teaches much about biology and the world around us, along with encouraging inquisitiveness that leads to more learning.
Plan to spend time in nature regularly, but don’t just plow on through the trail. Take your time, give the children time to stop and investigate, to chase a butterfly and see where it goes, or just spend time taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells around them.
Design Your Own Game
Do you like playing board games? Why not make your own? Gather a good supply of cardboard, foam board, markers, paper, and all kinds of arts and craft pieces and let the kids go to town.
Make sure that each game comes with directions, game pieces, and a clear objective. You may be surprised at what they create. Once the games are finished, have a family game night to test them out. This is a perfect time to teach constructive criticism and allow them to go back and tweek parts of the game that didn’t work after their “beta test.”
Let Them Get Bored
Boredom is not a terminal disease, it is actually a great catalyst for innovation. Pinterest and magazines are chock full of ideas to beat summer boredom. So, it may seem like something to avoid like the plague. However, boredom is actually good for children. It leads to self awareness and the ability to occupy oneself.
Sure in the beginning there will be much whining and gnashing of teeth, but don’t give in. Let them stay bored long enough and great things will happen! The best part about learning through boredom is that it costs nothing and can be used over and over, again!
What are your plans for the summer?
Linking up with Kelly who has some amazing, summer plans herself!