With Summer quickly approaching, your children are likely already on the edge of their seats with excitement, dreaming about lie-ins, hours of video games and hanging out with their friends. And, while it’s important that you all embrace all that the summer vacation has to offer for your family, you also need to ensure that you encourage them to use their minds and keep learning this summer!
Again, this doesn’t mean they need to be holding a book 24/7, they shouldn’t abandon all that they have learned over the past year.
With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to keep your kids learning over the summer!
Tackle homework early on.
If teachers have assigned any homework for students over the summer, don’t let them leave it until the last minute. Completing homework during the start of the summer vacation gives them a chance to get the hard work done when the knowledge is still fresh in their brains. This means they’ll feel more confident about the quality of their work when they go back to school.
Plan educational days out.
Summer vacations give you the perfect chance to spend more quality time together as a family. This gives you the opportunity to plan days out that are as fun as they are educational. For example, you could visit a museum or local heritage site to help your children learn more about the world around them. On rainy days, you could achieve this goal by checking out some virtual visits you can enjoy from your home.
Hang some educational posters in your home.
Educational posters, such as posters with grammar tips and tricks, are a great learning tool. This is because the more we see information presented before us, the easier it will be to retain it over time. This means they’re a great tool to keep your little one’s mind sharp over the summer months. For example, if they are learning Latin or Greek, you could hang these greek and latin roots activities on their wall.
Encourage them to read.
Encouraging your child to read more often comes with many benefits; not only in terms of their academic skill set. For example, it also encourages them to use their imagination and get creative! As a result, you should encourage them to develop their reading skills over the summer. Sign up to the local library and pick up some new books every few weeks, helping them to challenge themselves by trying books that are a little out of their comfort zone (but still age-appropriate).
Focus on skills they don’t learn in the classroom.
There are some important life lessons and skills that aren’t focused on in a classroom environment, such as baking and money management. As a result, you could use the summer holidays to help your children develop these essential life skills so that they aren’t caught unaware after graduation. For example, you could teach them about budgeting through their pocket money allocation. Alternatively, you could try out new recipes together in the kitchen, which is another great way to pass the time.
Encourage creative play.
Creative play, or arts and crafts, are another great way to help your child develop a range of skills during the summer break. For example, when they use their imagination and play with others, they are developing essential communication skills. This will help them to form stronger relationships with their peers. It can also help them develop their language skills and their problem-solving abilities. To put it simply, playing is educational and fun!
Lead by example.
Our children often mirror our behaviour (which is why some adults have to watch their language around little ones). As a result, if you display a keen interest in learning all year round, so will they. For example, if you wanted them to read more, they should see you reading too – or you can read together each evening. You could also start each evening meal by discussing one new thing you have learned that day, and asking plenty of questions when they offer up some facts or knowledge. By showing an interest in what you have to say, you’re encouraging them to keep learning every single day.
Watch some documentaries.
Summer Movie Nights are a great way to pass the time (especially if the weather isn’t the best), and while you should ensure you include plenty of comedies and kid-friendly movies in the mix, don’t be afraid to play the odd documentary either. Again, you should ensure that the content is age-appropriate, though there are many documentaries that are made specifically for younger audiences. The benefit of these films is the fact they find fun and inventive ways of presenting the information to their target audience, increasing the likelihood of them paying close attention.
Play educational games.
There are plenty of educational games (both physical and online) that your children can enjoy this summer. Ideally, you should focus on games that will help your children develop skills in an area they normally struggle with. For example, if maths is their least favourite subject, they could try out these fun online math games designed to target knowledge gaps. The more they play, the more they will learn! You could use these games as a way of rationing the time they spend online, or by giving them x amount of time to play their favourite video games if they complete a maths-based game first.
Don’t forget the importance of taking a break.
While it’s important that you encourage your child to pursue their academic interests during the summer, you should also ensure they give themselves a break. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little time off, and if they’re coming out of a busy or stressful year they’re going to need it. While you should dedicate some time each week to educational activities, let them be in charge of their own free time too. This is an important lesson to teach your children that they will then carry with them into adulthood.