Our kids are so busy with activities nowadays, especially during the school year. Between sports practices, music lessons and school work, there is little time for unstructured play. This is why we cherish our long summer break. However, summer break is also an excellent time for learning! And no, it doesn’t have to be boring!
Here are 3 ways to make summer learning fun for the kids and you!
1. LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Has your child shown as interest in everything having to do with Japan after reading a manga comic book? Can’t stop building the Eiffel tower with Lego blocks in hopes of going on a trip to Paris and greeting everyone with a friendly “bonjour”? Has the ability to consume more than a pound of pasta in one sitting inspiring a love of everything Italian? Okay, that may seem a bit far fetched but hobbies and interests can lead to wonderful learning opportunities.
Sometimes, it’s a trip abroad that can encourage us to learn a new language. But even staying at home, our interests can lead to a desire to learn a foreign language. As a teenager growing up in the Netherlands, I loved listening to Italian music from artists such as Eros Ramazzotti and Laura Pausini. I enjoyed the music so much that I wanted to better understand the lyrics. At the start of my summer break, I headed to my local library for a course in Italian. During college, I continued with a couple of classes in Italian and even though I’m quite rusty at this point, I will always love this beautiful language.
We enrolled our kids in Spanish Immersion school because learning a foreign language is really important to our international family. This is also one of the reasons I started an etsy shop with bilingual and educational printables. I create printables that make learning fun for kids such as this Spanish dress up paper doll and this Spanish memory game.
I recently published a brand new printable to learn the names of body parts in Spanish. It comes with a decorative print that you can hang up in a prominent place in the kitchen, kids bedroom or teacher’s classroom. To test their knowledge, kids can use the worksheet to see how many names they already know and for easy review, an index with both the Spanish words as well as their English translations is included.
No matter which language your child is wanting to learn, have fun with it and learn together!
2. SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS
Science is a subject that really lends itself to hands-on learning! We have a bunch of books on the shelf with science experiments but this summer we have really been enjoying the experiments posted by Yellow Scope. Yellow Scope is a wonderful Portland based company run by awesome people who work with an incredible amount of passion to inspire girls to love science.
We are a bit behind with Camp Yellow Scope (so don’t worry about starting late) but the experiments we have done, have been really fun. As a busy mom, I appreciate that most of the items needed for the science experiments are things I already have laying around the house. Also, the experiments are not so lengthy that they are hard to fit into the day, yet they pack a mighty educational punch.
3. SIMPLY.... READING
Fiction or non-fiction? Adventure or sci-fi? Comic strips or beautifully illustrated picture books? What gets your child excited about reading? For some kids, it’s not so much the subject or format of the books. In my last blog post, I shared with you the summer reading program and rewards I created for those kids who love games and work hard for a special incentive or positive reward. Our kids enjoy reading but they still love it when they can earn prizes for their progress. Who doesn’t it? I recently signed up for the adult reading game our local library organized!
A friend of mine recently shared on Facebook that her family went to the book store together to buy books for their “family book club”. This summer, she will be reading the same books as her husband and middle school aged child. Such an excellent idea! Sharing thoughts about the books and engaging with each other will make the experience of reading these books so much more interesting and rewarding.
Our kids can easily read by themselves now but they still love it when I read to them aloud. So in the evening or during road trips and travel, I have been reading them books that we all enjoy. Currently, I’m reading them the book “Theodore Boone, kid lawyer" by John Grisham. It’s a mystery that is not scary but suspenseful. The book introduces kids to the vocabulary of our court system in a non-boring, story telling way. We have also really enjoyed the mysteries in the Eddie Red series by Marcia Wells. I especially appreciate the diversity in the characters in these books as well as the clever plot line and references to art.
I’m still looking for a great resource for math so if you have any tips or can refer me to any online math resources, please leave me a comment! I’m sure my readers will appreciate it too! Thank you!