For most kids, summer vacation in 2020 will be very different from other summers. Since many schools have either been closed or operating online since early spring, summer hasn’t really felt the same—especially since playdates are restricted and summer vacations might be canceled due to the pandemic.
To prevent kids from getting bored and to keep them in the spirit of learning, parents can use the summer months for fun learning activities. If you’re trying to figure out how to keep your kids happy and occupied during the long, hot days of summer, here are some ideas for fun and educational activities.
Bedtime Reading or Storytelling
Learning doesn’t have to be formal. In fact, some of the best learning opportunities are the simplest. There are thousands upon thousands of excellent books for young children that you can read together as a family.
Bedtime reading brings you closer together and gives you the opportunity to have positive discussions about difficult topics like racism, loss, self-esteem, and more. It’s never too early to start having these kinds of conversations, which will help your child become a more thoughtful, compassionate, and resilient person.
Reading at bedtime can also help encourage healthy habits. Sleep is very important for babies and young children. By reading together before bed, you create a ritual that can help kids fall asleep faster so they can grow and develop properly. Plus, your kiddos will be in a better mood if they get enough sleep!
Movies Can Be a Great Way to Introduce New Concepts
If your instinct is to fight screen time at every opportunity, then you might have trouble believing that watching movies can be a great learning opportunity. Whether you watch movies together as a family or use them to give yourself a much-needed break during the day, selecting educational movies that introduce new concepts is a great way to engage kids in learning.
Screen time shouldn’t be the main form of entertainment for young children, but it definitely has its place. There are lots of great family-friendly films your kids can learn from.
Sports + Spelling Activities Are Great for Summer Learning
Summer is the perfect time to get outside and move. Exercise is important for both physical and mental health, and practicing sports can help kids build skills and become more confident in themselves and their abilities. But have you ever considered pairing summer sports with other types of learning?
Linking physical movement with tasks like memorization and spelling can be great practice and can help kids learn. Some children are kinetic learners, which means they learn best when performing some type of physical activity. Multisensory learning opportunities, like spelling while shooting hoops on the basketball court, can be a fun and innovative way to build knowledge and skills and are great for students with developmental or learning disabilities.
Learn About Nutrition While You Cook!
Most kids would eat cake and candy all day long if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, childhood obesity is a real problem in the United States, and many children grow up without much knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating. If taught from a young age, kids will be more likely to make good food choices as they grow into adulthood.
Teaching young kids about nutrition is as easy as bringing them into the kitchen. While it might take some patience and a little extra time to prepare meals with a little one helping out, it’s a great learning opportunity and a good way to bond. Not only will they learn cooking skills from an early age, but you can start to discuss the basics of nutrition and teach them about how healthy food fuels strong bodies and brains.
Combine Learning with Reward by Counting With Fruit, Money or Ice Cream
Kids are always more willing to learn when there’s some fun involved. Make learning rewarding by counting with objects like pennies, grapes, or even “ice cream scoops” made out of pompoms. Cap off the lesson with a bowl of ice cream or the fruit they’ve just counted. Make learning fun and sweet for summer!
Relax a Bit and Get Creative
You might feel some pressure to prepare your young children for school. But remember, summer is the time for fun. Your kids will learn more effectively if you relax a bit and look for learning opportunities in whatever you do. Get creative and just have some fun! Learning doesn’t have to be formal to set your kids up for a great school year.