School Zone welcomes guest writer Alexandra Mayzler to share some fresh and fun activities for summer learning. Who couldn't use a few more of those when children utter those dreaded words, "I'm bored" to parents during their summer break...
Summer is a great time to take learning outside the textbook. After months of sitting in classrooms, there’s nothing better than applying what you’ve learned to real-world situations. Not only is the summer a perfect time to keep information fresh, it is also a perfect opportunity for kids to see the fun side of learning. Not all writing has to be in a marble notebook and not all math has to be about word problems. Here are 5 activities for kids to flex their thinking muscles all through the summer.
- Create your own board game. Nobody needs to know you’re actually learning if you’re challenged to create a board game that you can plan with the family or during slumber parties. Have your child design a board game around a book she’s read or a historical figure she’s interested in. She can be as creative as she’d like as long as the game stays true to the story or plot.
- Stay connected. Pen pals are fun, but everyone is online nowadays. Have your child send weekly emails to 2-3 family members. Your child can practice writing skills and stay connected with cousins, grandparents, or close family friends.
- Calling all translators. For children studying a foreign language, watching a familiar movie or TV show can be a great way to stay fresh with the language. Older students can be the “official translator” while younger students can play “catch the word” by watching and listening for words they’ve learned in school.
- Keep a summer journal. Encourage kids to stay sharp in their writing by keeping a journal, discussing summer activities, good reads, and more. If you have a family trip planned or your child goes to camp, have your child create a travel diary. Students who are reluctant to keep a journal will be more willing to write about a finite period or activity (such as a trip). Once they get started, maybe they’ll want to continue into the school year.
- Take a road trip. Summers are a time for trips. Whether you’re taking a day trip or a longer vacation, have you child be the designated GPS. That means she will have to keep track of mileage, speed, gas prices, etc. And you can be the one asking, “are we there yet!?”
Not only can learning be more fun in the summer, but it can also help students transition smoothly into the next school year. We know from research and experience that students can lose up to three months of learning momentum during the summer months. Keep that summer brain drain at bay with fun activities that engage every student’s mind!
Bio: Alexandra Mayzler is the founder of Thinking Caps Group. She is the author of several books including SAT Demystified and Tutor in a Book. Alexandra lives in New York and spends her free time thinking about how to make studying easier, more interesting, and above all, enjoyable for her students. She also just appeared on Shannan Younger's blog, Tween Us with additional ideas.
IF YOU LIKED THIS POST: You might also like this previous post on freebies and summer reading programs or this post on the Museum of Science and Industry's Summer Brain Games program. Subscribe to School Zone now for summer skills, tips, and ideas.
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