Summer vacation is nearing its end. In less than six weeks, children will return to reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. There will be reports,projects and tests. As we reach the middle of summer vacation, its time to assess the reality that children fall behind over the summer. Research has shown that without access to activities at home or in their community that keep them engaged, some children can fall behind as much as two month in reading and in math.
Summer doesn’t have to be the route of book work, but instead the opportunity to explore new opportunities. The simplicity of arts and crafts, or basketball in the driveway fuel children’s brains. Summer is the perfect time for a child to discover something new to be passionate about and experience a new adventure.
There are many activities that provide the opportunity to engage children. A camp-out can provide the backdrop for a discussion on outer-space. Print out constellation facts and then scan the skies for familiar constellations. Math is as simple to practice by inviting children to help in the kitchen. Can they count how many chocolate chips are in 1/4 cup? Invite children to the grocery store and give them a calculator to help determine which is the best deal on favorite cereals, treats, etc.
Many libraries offer a summer reading program complete with incentives and rewards to keep children reading. It is recommended during the school year, that a child read a minimum of 20-minutes. Encourage children to maintain this goal. There are many great books, start with a favorite author, or introduce a child to your favorite books as a child.
Science offers some great opportunities. Try making alka-seltzer rockets to launch in the backyard. Children can experiment with height by adjusting the amount and temperature of the water. Using rubber ducks or paper boats, host a rain gutter regatta. Get some help cleaning drains with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. The possibilities are endless.
It’s not only brain power these “lessons” are increasing, it’s the memories of some quality time with a parent. Summer time is a quieter time for most families and the perfect opportunity to spend some one on one time discovering new things.