By Amanda Gordon, Curriculum Specialist
Summer is here! Summer vacation is a time families look forward to every year. Unwinding, playing, late bedtimes and outdoor activities are all part of the fun! But, how can parents keep children from losing some of the knowledge they gained over the school year? How can you help avoid the “Summer Brain Drain?” While summer workbooks can keep your child’s mind sharp, they often come with moans and groans. Here are some engaging activities that will inspire fun and creative learning and result in smiles and knowledge acquisition:
- Going on a road trip? Pull out a road atlas and encourage your children to follow along on the roads you are driving. Have them calculate the miles between your starting point and your destination. Can they pin the state capitals, discover which cities are the largest, and where the state line starts? This is also a wonderful time to learn the meaning of each road symbol.
- Staying in the city? Orlando is filled with many educational twists and turns! Visit the Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando Science Center, or one of our many art museums. Explore the exhibits and have your child write down fun facts. When you return home, ask them to create a journal entry using their newly learned facts.
- Heading to an indoor sports park? Counting each jump on the trampoline is a fun game. Who can jump the longest? Calculate how far (in feet, inches, yards) you will fly on the zipline.
- Running to the grocery store? Give your child a set amount of money to spend on a meal for the family. Make sure your child plans for an entree and enough side items to make a complete meal for everyone- all while staying within the budget!
- Read everywhere! Road signs, maps or directions, and informational flyers about the places you visit are easy resources. As a fun family game, take turns finding words that start with each letter of the alphabet or that can be combined to create new words. When your child discovers a new word, have them look it up in the dictionary and create a word bank of new words they learned over the summer. Another good journaling opportunity! Visiting some place new? Read a book about the new location before your trip. Explore the history of the area, famous people who lived in the area and fun “don’t miss” activities for your family to enjoy.
- Take reading outside – at the park, by a lake, or at the beach! Go into nature and find a cool, calm place to enjoy some peace and quiet while diving into that new book your family has saved for summer reading. Parents are encouraged to be good role models by reading alongside or out loud to their children.
- Write about it! Children love to write postcards to friends and family detailing their summer fun. Remember to include family and friends outside the country, too. The post office is a wonderful summer field trip especially when sending mail, domestically or internationally. Is your child missing their school friends? Have them write letters to friends describing their summer activities. Do you have a budding author? Encourage him/her to write a book, illustrate it and read it to siblings, grandparents and friends.
- Kitchen activities can be a fun way to learn math skills and increase vocabulary! Research recipes that are interesting, different and easy for children to follow. Invite some friends and family over for your child to share their culinary skills. Double the recipe to add another level of math using measuring cups and spoons to calculate the ingredients.
These are just a sampling of activities children will enjoy that will help slow the “brain drain.” Most of all, we pray you will have a fun and safe summer and enjoy every new adventure your family embarks upon! Happy summer from The Christ School!