Making the most of Summer vacation
Play-dates, pool parties and trips to the beach – it’s summer vacation! Sure, we delight in seeing our kids enjoy the leisurely bliss of summer break, but will all the fun come at the expense of our children learning? How can we help our kids make developmental progress and stay on target for school in the fall? In spite of all the relaxation and play, summertime has potential to be an incredibly enriching opportunity. After all, who ever said that learning can’t be entertaining? In fact, fun experiences are often the very best occasions for your child to learn.
Here are a few tips to keep your child learning throughout the summer:
Plan family outings! Talk about where you will go, and what you will see there. Whether you visit a museum, the zoo, or a scenic park, a family outing will provide a multisensory experience to enrich your child’s development. Describe what you see during the outing, and introduce your child to new vocabulary words in the process.
- Take photographs during special outings or trips. Print out each picture, and help your child put the pictures in order as you recall your fun day. Glue each picture into a construction-paper book. Help your child write a sentence about each picture. Who is in the picture? Where does it take place? What is happening in the picture? Encourage your child to share their book with family and friends!
- Make a summertime placemat. Have fun decorating a large piece of construction paper with your child. Depending on your child’s age, you might choose crayons, stickers, paper cut-outs, or sponge paints to fill their placemat with color. Incorporate summer vocabulary words into the project (e.g. sun, swimming, popsicle, sandals). Laminate your child’s placemat, and enjoy using it and talking about the different pictures at meal time. Make a creative summer snack. You might make “Ants on a Log” or a “Gummy Worm Dirt Cup”. Create a grocery list with your child. Talk about what you will need for your snack, and how you will make it. Draw a picture of each step, and have fun making your snack together! Afterwards, encourage your child to share their snack with family and friends, and describe how they made it.
- Keep a summer scrapbook. Save ticket stubs, brochures, and family photos from various outings, and glue them into the book throughout the summer to record all of your special memories. Help your child write a sentence about each picture. At the end of the summer, look back through your scrapbook and talk about all the fun things you did!
- Plan a treasure hunt. Select a few fun items, and hide them throughout your house or backyard. Create a treasure map with clues for your child, and have fun hunting for treasure together! Help your child describe where they found each item. Was it behind the couch? Was it in the sandbox?