Summer Fun… with Learning!
Presented by Ferndale Youth Assistance
Written by Stephanie Smith, Huntington National Bank
Summer is almost here! Yeah! It's time for vacations, pools, sprinklers, bbq's, smores, and learning?? What? That's right, give your child a great start to the next school year and keep their brain moving this summer. There are fun ways to keep your child sharp, here are just a few ideas:
Reading - There are programs to help encourage your child to read. If you can't find a local program, check out your local library, ask a teacher, search online, or start your own. Allow your child to read about what they like and enjoy, such as; the history of baseball, ask them what they thought, than reward them with a trip to the batting cage or a Tigers game. You can set up your own reward program; after 3 books it earns a trip to the movies or a new DS game. This will keep them reading all summer.
Science - Some very basic everyday things are science. Helping in the garden, different tastes, make your own ice cream, growing a beanstalk, coloring eggs... Kool-Aid Friz is a science project! Purchase a bug catching kit at your local dollar store. For more adventurous souls, make a solar oven and bake cookies, potato batteries, and clean pennies with vinegar and salt.
Math - Start a simple car game; add the numbers on a license plate and see who can get the answer first. Ask your child’s help with the measuring tape for the summer household projects. Let them help do the calculations and go to Home Depot with you to get what you need. Make a family cake or cookies, encourage your child to do the measuring. Money is another great math tool; have them figure out how much of each coin they need to stop the ice cream truck.
Language - Label the items in your house with index cards identifying the object in different languages. Ask them daily to use these words in a sentence, ask for a few sentences. Most importantly, let them have fun with it, make up silly sentences or stories using these words. This also works for children who are just starting to read and write. Put the words in English and ask them to write a few words, make a sentence with one of the words, than draw a picture of their sentence. Do it with them and make it silly.
Stories - Take your child for a walk around your neighbor. Ask the child to tell you a story about an object you saw; a Kio pond, a motorcycle, a fallen tree, etc. Encourage them to get wild with their story… you could even help with some details. Some children may enjoy writing a journal of their summer vacation or stay-cation. They may even want to write some of their own crazy and brilliant ideas that are running through their heads. Encourage them to write a poem, story, song, screen play, whatever and everyone shares their creation over dinner.
Art - Purchase some sidewalk chalk or paint. Allow the child to make different shapes, drawings, activities on the sidewalk. Do it with them and show them some games you used to play. Creating a scrapbook or photo album of the summer is another great idea for the entire family. Visit your local Michael's store for affordable and fun crafts for the entire family this summer.
Stay-cations - While most of us have traded in our trips to Disney for trips to local water parks, consider mixing up the activities a little. In addition to our local beaches, parks, and recreational centers, what about broadening your horizons, such as; Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Institute of Art, Detroit or Toledo Zoo, Cranbrook, Detroit Science Center, Hands On Museum, etc. Most of these facilities have special activities going on during the summer, check out what would interest your family and make it part of your stay-cation.
Check out some of the fun educational sites online such as; kidsource.com, eduplace.com, apples4theteacher.com, nasa.goc/audience/forstudents, thunk.com, switchzoo.com/puzzles, funschool.kaboose.com, easy-kids-science-experiments.com, and so many more. Two of my favorite sites are school.familyeducation.com and education.com, it has more than school activities, but covers ages 0-18 with creative and fun ideas in every subject.
Lastly, let's never forget our children learn the most from us. So plan, schedule, make time to be with them. Enjoy a camp out in the backyard, take walks together, discover cloud pictures together, eat dinner by candle light, have a picnic in your living room. Start a weekly tradition all about the family; movie night, pizza night, make your own sundae night, picnic lunches on Saturday, something. The opportunity your children have to learn from you is one of the most valuable treasures you can ever give.... besides they might surprise you by teaching you a new thing or two. Not all activities have to cost money, you can spend nothing and have a great time. Whatever your summer holds for you and your family, enjoy each other. Have a happy and safe summer from Ferndale Youth Assistance.