Summertime’s near! This only means children will be on summer break in no time. While most kids will opt enrolling in summer classes, most kids would just slack off – playing their game consoles, online games, and watching tons of cartoon at home.
This is A Sad Summer Story
If you let your child slack off, could you just imagine what your children will tell their friends when asked how their summer vacation went? Aside from that, some studies suggest summertime – or the lack of summer activities – is one major factor in learning process disruptions in children. In fact, for some kids, a few months off in the summer can lead to major setbacks in school such as lower post-vacation exam scores, spelling skill loss, as well as loss in Math computational skills.
This may be caused by lower brain functions during summer break. It’s like a bicycle that broke down because it was kept in the garage for a long time. To keep it in tip-top shape, it needs continuous use.
A great way to prevent this from happening is by engaging your children in summer activities.
Here are some ways to keep kids’ minds active
Aside from camping being fun, there are a number of things kids can learn at camp. They can learn a lot by simple exploring, studying, and naming plants and flowers. They can bring books to camp and learn on the go, or they can also just take pictures for review at home. Camping also teaches them to care for the environment, how to deal with discomfort, and how to live with simplicity in mind.
Yes, even the simplest activities can activate the mind “muscles” that will not only teach, but will also be an opportunity for them to apply what they learned. Let your kids look for recipes in cookbooks, plan the grocery items, adjust serving proportions, and follow step-by-step procedures in cooking whatever dish they find interesting.
Organised athletics or team sports is a very clever summer activity choice. Kids can learn important life values and lessons that are beneficial when they grow up. This includes discipline, hard work, sacrifice, teamwork, and coping up with failure. Also, if kids really put their heart into it, this might be the first time they set goals (improve on dribbling, for example). Sports will also teach children the importance of practice and preparation in achieving goals.
When I was little, going to the zoo was one of my favourites. There’s this zoo near our house that allowed children (like me, 20 years ago. LOL!) to feed small birds. It’s only now that I realised how this shaped me into a nature-loving woman. Bringing kids to the zoo sparks one of the most important learning tools – curiosity. Also, it increases their knowledge in animals, especially when they are able to touch them. It makes learning fun to the point that it DOESN’T FEEL LIKE LEARNING at all!
Paying a visit to museums, and even historical sites, provides children an immersive learning experience. As with some adults, kids need to see proof before they believe. What’s the best way to explain the effect of static energy to our hair? Or the existence of mammoths and platypuses? It’s when they see it (or rather, a replica of it). Trips to the museum also provoke imagination, aside from providing a unique bonding time for the family.
Exploring Educational Media
So staying all day at home can be educational after all, if you do it the right way. Films, TV, the internet, as well as computer games are generally considered bad for children. But in fact, research shows that kids can highly benefit from these media platforms, depending on the type of media and their corresponding age. It’s particularly helpful if parents get involved in their kid’s use of media. For example, parents can show quality websites to their kids and teach them how to use it properly.
Also, with the right movie and TV program, kids can develop their literacy, number skills, as well as social skills. It’s also advisable to discuss story plots, how they feel about stories, and real-life implications of stories they see in TV and films.
Board games go way back in our history. Yet even until now, it continues to be a relaxing way to exercise the mind. And studies show that with kids, board games teach them how to get along with others. It’s also one of early means for kids to follow rules and reasoning about moral problems. Some board games also encourage kids to detect patterns, plan ahead, and predict the future! (or rather, their opponent’s next move)
The most classic storytelling doesn’t just make your kid fall asleep. Storytelling also introduces them to concepts like wisdom, courage, and honesty, among others. They also learn how to appreciate different cultures. Apart from these concepts, storytelling will also improve on their verbal proficiency, listening skills, and imagination.
An active mind sits atop an active body
As kids grow, they form habits. And as the saying goes, “we make our own habit, then our habit makes us”. Forming good learning habits early outside of school for children will not only stimulate their minds, but will eventually create active individuals.
In between holidays and vacation leaves reserved for bonding activities with her family, Ruth and her husband are trying to get their kids to do yoga, with very little success. She is blessed with beautiful lovely twins, and works as a Community Manager for Aftershool.ae in Dubai.