Summer is just around the corner, can you believe it? While summer is a welcome change from the busy school life for most kids, chances are you’re thinking about ways to keep your kids academically engaged throughout those summer months. Summer programs and camps are a wonderful opportunity for kids of all ages. But what about ways you as a parent can incorporate academics into your child’s day-to-day activities? Here are some fun ways to sneak in some academic time:
Family Game Night – Turn off the screens and bring out the board games! Sitting down to play together may seem like all fun and games but kids can be exposed to a variety of math and literacy skills. Things like sorting, counting, reading directions, listening and following directions, etc. are all important areas that are targeted when playing good old-fashioned board games. Not to mention added elements like cooperative play, sportsmanship, and conversational dialogue.
Creative building with blocks – although this idea may at first seem relatively simple, the possibilities with block building are endless! It helps spur creativity and imagination galore! Plus, you can modify this activity to reach many ages. For example, older children can begin by making a sketch of what exactly they plan to build and then write out step-by-step directions on how to do so. For younger children, you can encourage them to build with only a certain number of blocks and have them count them out first. The same goes for color, shape, size, etc. Plus, block building is also a great activity to help with fine motor skills.
New recipe – trying a new recipe is a fun experience no matter what age you are! And through all of the excitement, there are so many wonderful opportunities to slip in some academics. Kids can read a recipe and then write out a shopping list of items to purchase. At the store, they can add up prices of ingredients for some wonderful math practice. Additionally, paying with cash would allow kids to practice counting bills and coins. And once you begin the cooking, children can get practice with the measurement as well!
Simple science experiments – it’s no secret that kids love science! The hands-on learning makes for some very engaging and exciting experiments. The wonderful thing about science is that even simple experiments requiring very few materials can make for some amazing fun! Some examples include experimenting with different kinds of paper airplanes and how far they can fly, making a sundial and predicting/recording the sun’s shadow movements, and even creating a windsock or kite that will float in the wind. You can get ideas from books from your local library and even simple internet searches. Science experiments promote reading and following directions and trial and error practice, and even help build skills such as making predictions and testing hypotheses.
Outdoor Time – there are so many benefits to kids playing and spending time outside. For a fun twist, try mixing up outdoor activities with some learning time built in! Some ideas include a word hunt, treasure maps, and outdoor memory games. For word hunts, simply write down any sight words or vocabulary words your child is practicing onto flashcards and hide them around your yard. Once your child has collected them all, have him/her read them to you. On the flip side, you could have your child hide a ‘treasure’ in the yard and make a treasure map with pictures and written directions to lead you to it. Lastly, outdoor memory games involve large pieces of paper with your choice of focus – math, sight words, shapes, etc. Make sure each item on a paper has a match. For example, have two of the same sight word/shape/number. You could even modify this activity slightly by having the match be in different formats. For instance, the name of a shape and a picture of the shape, a numeral and its matching number word, or a computation problem with its match being the answer. Mix up and spread out all of the pieces of paper upside-down in several rows and flip over two pieces at a time to try and make a match. These are just a few ideas to support an abundance of reading and math skills. However, the possibilities are endless, especially when it comes to the outdoors!
Have an enjoyable, fun, and relaxing summer! And squeeze in some extra learning while you’re at it!
Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
740 Community Drive, Unit A
North Liberty, IA 52317
5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300
Johnston, IA 50131