Summer is the perfect time to show kids that learning doesn’t just happen at school. And one of the best ways to make at-home learning fun during the summer is to take it outside! You can conduct simple experiments that may be too messy for indoors, find various bugs and birds, give writing prompts about nature, examine flowers, trees, and gardens or try a nature-themed art project.
Choose a Framework to Keep Summer Learning on Track
Having a framework is very helpful for parents in focusing their children on periods of dedicated learning time each week throughout the summer. Get kids in the habit of sitting down for skills-building activities using mazes and puzzles to keep it fun.
Play Summer Games
While there are plenty of games specifically designed to build math skills, you probably already have a few options sitting in your garage. For instance, a yard game like cornhole requires on-the-spot addition. Monopoly also requires players to count. Math Slam, Connect Four, Ticket to Ride, Even Steven’s Odd, and Rush Hour are just a few others that help foster math skill building. Even hopscotch helps build valuable skills!
Show Them the Value of Money
One of the best ways for kids to practice math is by learning to control their own summer spending money. For older kids, you may give them more control over saving and spending. For younger children, you may need to mentor and monitor more closely. Either way, allow your child to earn money and then practice spending it in ways she chooses. Ask your child questions about the purchases she makes-if she buys a candy bar, how much money should she expect to have left? What could she purchase with her money? Is there a larger-ticket item she wants to save for? Help her meet her goal by setting up a weekly budget.
Get in the Kitchen
Summer means more time to take things slow. And by asking your child to help prepare meals, you’re also developing his math skills. Choose a recipe that has a lot of measurements and halve or double it for an added math challenge. For younger kids, this may require a bit of assistance. It’s a great way to visualize different measurements, perform some calculations, and end up with a tasty treat-all in just an hour or so!
Take a Trip
Many families choose to take trips over the summer, and this presents a great opportunity for children to practice math skills. Get a paper map or find an electronic one, and ask your kids to calculate potential distances. You might even involve your child in planning a route or comparing distances, choosing the best routes based on traffic or construction, or adding up the legs of a journey.
Listen to Audiobooks and Podcasts
Listening is an excellent way for kids to engage with material that they might not otherwise. Choose education-oriented or fun podcasts that you can listen to together or alone, preferably ones that speak to your child’s interests. Try videos as well; there are many videos for kids to practice their vocabulary words or you can make a video together.
Make Reading a Family Affair
Not only is maintaining a reading habit over the summer essential for staying up to speed, it can also be a great avenue for family bonding. Try starting a family book club that meets on one scheduled night or morning a week. If your children are at different reading levels, one might read the book solo, while the other works with you. Let them choose the topic. There are many great tools to help you select the right book; check out the booklists at Common Sense Media for reading list inspiration. Pose questions like “What surprised you most about the book?” or “Who was your favorite character?” You’ll learn more about what your children have on their minds, all while keeping skills sharp for the school year ahead.
Provided by Highlights Learning, makers of Big Fun Activity Books