It's summer! YAY!! Time for sun shine, beaches, pools and fun! Many parents also fear that their children are going to lose some of the skills they learned during the school year. Fear no more! Here are some easy ways to keep your children from forgetting what they learned!
Work on those summer skills!
So many people ask about what websites or apps they should be using with their children. Just stop right there. You do not need computers or tablets to keep those skills fresh. I highly discourage using them over the summer. Kids sit too much already. Get them active!
Go for a walk. A walk is a great way to work on summer skills. Look for letters, words, colors, shapes, categories of animals, types of trees, etc. Observe what your child is drawn to and use that interest to build on their skills. If they like trees, start a leaf collection. Get some books from the library to identify them. Count the points on the leaves, see what type of seed it has. If your child is drawn to bugs, study them, observe where they live. maybe get an ant farm or have a spot in the yard that your child can dig in and watch for bugs, (put a rock or piece of wood on the bare dirt and the next day lift it to see what you can find. Start a rock collection and learn how rocks are formed.
Cook or bake together
Let your child pick what you are going to make. Work together to measure the ingredients, use math skills to double a recipe or cut it in half. Practice reading by reading the instructions. Work on fine motor skills by stirring, scooping, breaking an egg etc.
Build math skills with Legos!!
Many kids love legos! There are so many skills you can work on using legos. Discover how a 2×2 is half of a 2×4 block. Sort them into colors or size. You can make letters or patterns out of them. Count how many it takes to make a tower that is 10″ tall.
Many kids will play in water one way or another during the summer. You can use measuring cups to fill another container, count how many it takes. How many full 1/4 cups does it take to fill up a 1 cup container? Use a paint brush and bucket of water to “paint” letters on the driveway or patio.
Watch the weather
Put out a rain gauge and track how much rain you get. Make a chart of rainy and sunny days. Chart the temperatures. Learn about the types of clouds and see if you can predict the days weather from watching the clouds. You can use this info to observe the weather over winter break too! It's not just about summer skills!!
Play with matchbox cars
Make a ramp out of cardboard or a piece of wood. See what car goes the farthest. Measure the incline of the ramp. If you can the angle does a different car go farther? Faster?
Work on finer motor skills
Play with play dough! Squishing and squeezing the play dough really strengthens fine motor muscles. Get some thera putty and put some beads or coins in it and have your child dig them out. Hang on monkey bars, be sure your child's thumb wraps around the bar and they don't keep it next to their index finger. Crawling games! Crawling really helps strengthens the muscles in the hands, arms and upper body and really helps with hand writing. Draw letters in the sand. dig in mud with bare hands, add enough water to make it really squishy. If you can't dig in a yard, you can get a plastic tub and potting soil to play in.
Read, Read, Read!!
Encourage your child to read. Let them read for fun! They do not have to read difficult books to keep up their skills over the summer. Any reading with do! Read to your child, it's ok to read to older kids that can read by themselves. Find a book to share and read together. Help your child develop a love of reading, it will last far beyond the summer! Check out your local library to see if they have a summer reading program. Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books have summer reading programs too! Earn free books or money towards books for participating in these programs.
Spend Time Together
Spending time together is the best thing you can do. Talking and listening to your child will help them go so far! They learn so much from your time together! It's important to keep on a similar routine for summer, kids still need good sleep! Check out this post about summer schedules. For more summer fun activities look here.