With the mention of summer, most students are excited about the beach, vacations, and not being in school. Summer is a great time to catch up on fun activities with the family, but it is also a great opportunity to incorporate mental activities to keep our students’ minds sharp. Parents are encouraged to find ways to mentally stimulate your child with various hobbies, activities, educational outings to keep your child from entering the dreaded “Summer Slump”. We want them to be ready for the next school year by having great learning experiences that will have a great impact on their memory. However, this does not mean having to sit down and have your student complete math problems all day. Incorporate fun elements into their activities and they will not even notice that they are learning. We have included here a list of fun learning activities that are suggested as supplementary activities, and are not meant to repeat or replace school curriculum. We suggest that parents focus on tasks that involved high play and entertainment value as well as a hands-on feature.
Activities to Do At Home
Students can do a lot with their parents at home. It is convenient, and both can get creative with the activity. Creativity is a sign of mental stimulation!
- Board games are a good activity that is fun and requires thought. Plus, playing with the whole family is an added bonus!
- Daily reading and discussion between students and parents also fosters team effort. When you read with your younger students, they feel more engaged in the activity. Reading does not have to be just for bedtime. Visit the library together, check out books together, and sit and read together.
- Another cool activity to do on the daily is to play with refrigerator magnets. Purchase letters, numbers, or words and compose a different sentence with your student. This will get their spelling and sentence structure going. For the literature enthusiasts, compose metaphors or similes using different words, and see if you can create poetry right at home.
- Sit down and watch a documentary or educational show together. A lot of shows focusing on nature and animals are a popular one, as kids do tend to like animals. Shows about the world and space are fascinating as well.
- Enroll your student in an online learning course, which can be targeted for early learning or later. There are a variety of programs that focus on phonics, letters, spelling, math, science, etc.
- Design a calendar of educational activities together with your student. A different task or assignment every day or for every week should keep them excited for what is to come next! Plus, they get the bonus skill of planning and time management.
Activities to Do Outside of the Home
- Go on a museum tour. Pick a favorite museum, look for cool exhibits and make it a field trip day! Most often, museums have free admission on certain days of the week, as well as discounts for students, teachers, etc. It is an inexpensive method of exposing your student to history, art, science and gets them aware of community involvement.
- Find out if there is a local nature center to explore. You and your student can both walk or hike a trail and learn about nature and foliage. You can both read the information signs and talk about what you encounter on the walk. It is fun, and you will both be exercising, which is proven to improve mental cognition.
- Take a trip to the sea. Visit a local aquarium to learn about marine life. It is always a hit with younger students, especially if cool exhibits allow you to touch sting rays or small sharks! Make it a field trip day with family!
- Visit the science center! These centers usually have revolving themes, such as space exploration and technology to rainforest biodiversity. Be sure to look up any cool exhibits that your student would like to visit.
- Summer learning does not have to be restricted to doing math problems all day long. You can enroll your student into a summer camp. There are plenty with different themes and emphases. There are science camps, robotics and technology camps, math camps, and even poetry/writing camps. Summer is the perfect time to explore these extracurricular fields that students otherwise would not get the chance to during the normal school year.
- Summer is a good time to hone those fine art skills.
Enroll your student in music lessons or have them participate in orchestras/bands. Check out a local music store to see if they offer music lessons for discounted prices.
- Dance lessons are a good idea as they help sharpen memory and body awareness. Dancing is fun and is great exercise. Do not be afraid to ask them if they would like to sign up for ballroom dancing or hip hop, you may be surprised at their answer!
- Expose your student to theatre by enrolling them in young playwright classes. Play-acting, reading scripts, and even performing in an actual play will help your student not only with creativity, but also with public speaking and confidence.
- Lastly, let’s not forget arts and crafts! Creativity and artistry is just as brain stimulating as calculating a math problem. Find activities that involve drawing/painting, ceramics, or even sculpture work to engage your student in fun, self-expression, and hands-on activities.
- Summer is a good time to hone those fine art skills.
Importance of Keeping Fit over the Summer
Summer time is great for sport activities. Swimming, karate, basketball, big/little league baseball, soccer, etc are all great ways to keep busy and keep your student healthy. Sports such as karate or taekwondo require mental energy and memorization, which is good for mind awareness and focus. In general, playing a sport requires focus, attention, motivation, and teamwork, which are all great skills that your student will need for their future careers and life in general.
In conclusion, use the summer to find activities that will supplement and enrich your student’s desire to learn. It is especially important for parents to be just as involved and engaged as their student, because the more involvement, the better. When given the support of family, friends, and mentors, students will see the tasks as more fun rather than as a homework assignment.