Parents are always looking for ways to keep their kids engaged and learning throughout the summer. But it seems like this summer, the need for summer activities for kids are even more apparent. The school year did not wrap up the way it was intended; many homes were turned into classrooms, and many parents were putting on their teacher hats. While students may not be logging on to zoom calls to check in with teachers, there are still ways to keep kids learning and engaged while socially distancing and being safe amongst a global pandemic.
- Take a virtual field trip. During these socially distant times many museums, aquariums, planetariums, etc. have started offering free virtual experiences online, see some great option here. While it may not quite feel the same as visiting these places in real life, it is a great opportunity to take your child’s interests and explore even deeper. Whether this is by reading a book or article based on something interesting you found on your tour, re-creating a painting you saw in a museum, or star gazing outside, these resources are a great way to get the ball rolling on ways to continuously learn.
- Attend a local summer camp. While traveling long distances and attending out of town camps may not be happening this summer, St. Louis County has released guidelines for local summer camps to continue with camps safely. While all camps are great for keeping kids engaged, 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 with executive function difficulties (difficulty with planning, organization, goal-setting, task monitoring, etc.). Learn more about this camp.
- Explore the outdoors at a distance. Unfortunately, many summer plans have been canceled or adjusted due to COVID-19 and the need to maintain social distancing, but one thing that is still a great option is spending time outside. 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.
Regardless of which way you choose to keep your kids engaged the value of any learning over the summer cannot be overstated. While our world may continue to look different and our summer plans are continuously changing, use this time as a great way to explore new learning opportunities while gearing up for the school year ahead.