Summer activities that foster learning
The summer break can often lead to a slowing of children’s learning and development. With a few well thought out plans though, you can use this time to help your little one keep on growing!
With summer well and truly underway, it’s the perfect time to consider new ways to keep your children entertained, while making sure that they’re still developing while out of school. Experts suggest that the best way is to encourage children to engage in fun activities that also have an educational element.
A SUMMER OF LEARNING
It may seem a lot of work to take on the education of your little one during the summer months but don’t get too overwhelmed by this. Children are constantly learning and growing. Your main task is to put something in front of them or place them in a situation that will stimulate minds and bodies. Variety will be key here for both entertainment and educational reasons. Thankfully, as long as it’s fun, children will show little hesitation getting involved in whatever activity is set out, and they’ll be learning lots while they’re at it!
Take in a museum
To keep your child interested in learning, take an exciting day trip to a museum or a gallery. With so many options to choose from, it’s relatively straightforward to make it a regular activity this summer. Present it to your child as a fun day out full of exploration and adventure. They are sure to love the sprawling buildings with ancient artefacts, beautiful artworks and futuristic technologies. Just an hour in a museum or a gallery will fill your child’s mind with thoughts and inspiration without them getting bored or agitated. Tie it in with a nice lunch out and enjoy this special time together.
Exercise is crucial, not just for the physical health of children, but also their mental wellbeing. Coming out of the final term of the school year, they’re likely to be tired and worn out, so start small. Going for a walk with your little one can be a wonderful way to spend time together. You’ll both be reaping the benefits of exercise and you’ll be able to talk the entire time. While your child’s body is working, try to challenge their mind. Play games such as ‘I Spy’ to keep it fun or ask them to count how many streetlights you pass for example.
Play dress up
Playing dress up may appear to have no real educational element but practising getting dressed provides countless learning opportunities. Clothes have a whole variety of zips, buttons and other catches that young children can find difficult to use. Tying laces is another great test of motor function and memory. The school teacher will be more than grateful when your child is independently capable of changing their outfit for PE or putting on a coat after school.
Pitch it as a fun game where your child can try on lots of their clothes and create the wackiest outfits possible. Don’t be afraid to get involved and perhaps even have your own little photoshoot to capture your fashion creations!
Every child loves story time. They don’t often get to contribute to the story being told, as usually they’re the passive listener. This summer, sit with your child and start making up some stories together. You can set characters, objects or places that the story needs to be built around and let your child’s imagination run wild. Nothing is too unrealistic – in fact, the more unusual the better! This gives your little one the chance to really stretch their creativity and pay attention by including the details that you previously agreed on. Take it a step further and assign roles to different members of the household and act out a scene as a family!
Beat the clock
Although this one will suit the more competitive children slightly better, it can work for all! Pick a task or activity that your child needs to get done and start a stopwatch. Don’t give any negative feedback on the time or they may feel stressed by the whole idea. You can tell them their time and challenge them to beat it the next time they’re taking on the same task. This apparent time pressure can help to improve your little one’s concentration and motor skills, as well as their general concept of time. It will greatly benefit them and it will also make the morning rush that bit more manageable when they’re back to school!
Get stuck into a book
Reading is a tried and tested, surefire way to keep your child’s development progressing throughout the summer months. Allow them to pick books that they’re interested in, but ensure that they are of a level that will pose a slight challenge. The aim here is growth, so reading books that they have read before, or find easy, won’t necessarily do the trick. Consider asking them to give you a rundown of each chapter after they’ve read it to test their memory and recall ability, as well as how well they can present information. For children with reading difficulties, you can try the same format with audiobooks. If you can make the time, settle down next to them with a book and form your own healthy habit!
So, worry no more about your child’s development and learning slowing down through the summer months. With these tips, your little one will be sharper than ever when the time comes to go back to school!