While the school year might be over and “traditional” learning is on pause for a few months, the summer is a great time to help kids continue to learn and gain skills. Keeping kids active and learning over the summer helps make sure they are ready for the grade ahead and don’t regress in any areas. The summer is the best time to try out new and exciting learning opportunities that are hands-on and engaging.
- Explore local attractions. Within the St. Louis metropolitan area, there are so many great local attractions to check out. Even if you have been to these places before, there are always new things to explore and new ways to keep your child learning throughout the experience. If you go to the zoo have your children plan out on the map how they are going to get around to see their favorite animals, or if you go to the botanical gardens have them practice their reading skills by reading out loud the postage signage. Regardless of where you go there are so many opportunities to keep children learning while at our local attractions.
- Attend a local summer camp. While all camps are great for keeping kids active, if you want to keep your kids learning over the summer look for camps that focus on science, art, and other educational skills. Washington University Occupational Therapy offers its’ own summer camp for children ages 9-12 and new this summer 13-16 yr olds with executive function difficulties (difficulty with planning, organization, goal-setting, task monitoring, etc.). If interested in learning more about this camp, see the link below.
- Explore the outdoors. Thankfully this summer has more opportunities to experience indoor attractions due to more things being open and available, but it is still important to spend time outdoors. Whether this is going for a hike and learning about the leaves and trees around you, camping for the weekend and problem solving on how to pitch a tent, or trying out fishing for the first time and researching the different species of fish, each of these opportunities provides a fun experiential learning experience for kids and parents alike.
- Cook together. Cooking is a great home-learning opportunity that combines math, science, and reading skills. From picking out a recipe, getting and measuring the ingredients, as well as learning the science behind how foods are cooked, this fun activity will keep children constantly learning. If you want to change things up, even more, have themed cooking nights where you cook foods from different cultures and eat the meal the way individuals would in those countries.
- Fuel their passions. While there are certainly many ways to try and keep your kids engaged and learning over the summer, the best way to do that is to incorporate their passions and favorite things into learning experiences. Whether they are into sports, Minecraft, gymnastics, space, or history find age-appropriate ways to feed their interests through books, movies, games, and other hands-on experiences. The more they are interested in what they are learning the more they will get out of it.
No matter how you choose to keep your kids engaged, the value of any learning over the summer cannot be overstated. While this summer certainly holds more opportunities for traveling and being with others, also use this time as a great way to explore new learning opportunities while gearing up for the school year ahead.