It’s summer! You have successfully planned out all three months down to the minute. Now what about studying?
“Studying in summer?” you say. “The kids will start a petition calling for my resignation!”
This column is not about sitting inside all day buried in textbooks or a summer reading list. This is about simple things you can do to enrich your child’s summer, while also getting some relaxation in before school starts again.
You can take children to zoos, museums and other educational trips, but don’t stop there. Ask what they learned that they didn’t know before. Or better yet, ask your child what they expect before the trip, and compare the expectation to the actual experience. First zoo trip? Ask your child to describe what she thinks a certain animal will look like, then observe the similarities and differences between the hypothesis and the reality. Ask what they would do if they lived in a certain time period or sailed on the Mayflower?
Other ways you can spark learning during the summer is give your child a camera, video recorder, a diary or a sketchbook to document a day trip or vacation away. If you feel really adventurous, bring paints and a canvas board. Or give little ones a magnifying glass and a container for collections during hikes.
Sneak math in by counting things you see, sorting seashells or leaves, or by giving out rulers to measure how tall the flowers are getting. Make cookies and observe how much and how many ingredients you need. Round pizzas are great for fractions.
On rainy days, collect and measure the amount of rainfall. Find out if your area has had enough rain or should have more. Draw or take pictures of the rainclouds. And yes, reviews of what your child has done over the past year can really help with the new lessons in the coming year. It’s also a great time to observe what areas your child needs to work on and get some practice. It can also give you some insight into your child’s learning style.
With the right balance, summer can be a fun, relaxing time and a great time to learn a lot, too!
Theresa Davis is a former early childhood educator and has worked in childcare centers for more than 15 years. She is also an adoptive mother, living and taking care of her family in the Capital District.