Summer Break: the Perfect Time to Keep the Learning Going
With summer upon us, the temptations are great for children to spend hours watching TV or playing video games. But, with a little planning, summer can actually be a wonderful time to build on skills learned during the school year, explore new places, and discover new talents and abilities.
Research shows that many students lose the equivalent of one to two months of reading and math skills during the summer and do not score as well on standardized tests as students who continue to learn during the summer. Whether you’re a working mom or have the flexibility to be home with your kids, here are some great (and easy!) ways to keep your kids’ minds working during the summer months and teach them that learning can be fun and happen anywhere, not just in the classroom!
Tackle a Science Project
With the importance of science to both boys and girls, you can encourage your son or daughter to investigate how the sun and a magnifying glass can spark a fire, look at a spider web, a ladybug or another insect. They may be fascinated by looking through a prism to see the amazing colors that prisms display. For example, they can make a kaleidoscope to display the colors and symmetrical patterns and see how light bounces between mirrors.
Or, use water droplets to help make a basic microscope that lets you examine a range of objects in greater detail. Younger kids can start with a string phone from paper cups and a string to learn about sound waves or make noises like a screaming chicken. Another idea would be to test different colors of fabric to see which absorbs heat the most.
While your older kids might want to investigate your family tree or the conditions that make mold form the quickest. These are fun ways to get children away from TV or video games. There are some very good online resources to help you determine the best project based on the age of your children. You can develop a list and let them decided which project they wish to pursue each week.