Making the Most of Summer

Aug 1, 2013

As summer winds down, parents see the start of another school year lurking around the corner. Summer freedom has been a blast, but academic expectations lie just ahead.  Here are a few suggestions to rev up your kids’ learning power.

Read a book.  It’s not too late to discover the public library, particularly when kids have a choice in the matter of what they’ll read.  Children’s librarians are typically brilliant at picking up on kids’ interests and leading them to books that will engage them.  Reading experts say what kids read in the summer is less important than the fact that they simply keep reading.  If they want to read Captain Underpants books, go for it.

Start a collection.  Whether they’re coins or baseball cards, collecting them will teach your child a lot.  For one thing, he’ll be reading to learn what makes them collectible.  He’ll learn categorization and research skills as he digs to find out more.

He’ll stumble into social studies as he identifies countries of origin of coins and ball players.  Can he find Albert Pujols’ Dominican Republic on the globe?  Collectors enjoy becoming a real expert on one thing, which they can do with summer collecting.

Take on a project.  Whether it’s turning a corner of the basement into a clubhouse or raising money for the local homeless shelter, your child can invest that endless energy into a project she can own.  Projects take planning.  What supplies will she need?  Who will she need to work with?  What sort of adult help will be necessary?  Will it cost any money to get started?

Our son and his neighborhood buddy spent countless hours one August constructing their own miniature golf course which trailed from our garage to theirs.  Watching their creative engineering entertained us all.  In the end, they charged everyone a quarter to play—a small investment for a memorable enterprise.

What fun can your family squeeze in before September?  Grab for some cleverly disguised learning in these waning summer days.