Summer is here! The kids are excited to be out of school and parents are wondering what to do with them for three months! A question I often receive from parents is how to keep the summer relaxed while offering learning opportunities that peak interest and ward off the dreaded ‘summer slide.’ Here are a few low-key activities you can try with children of nearly any age:
Write. Get a fun colored notebook and write a small story or a few sentences about each day. Not only will you create a keepsake memory, but your child will be practicing their writing skills. For small children, have them draw a picture and together write a sentence about it. If your child is older, checkout KidBlog and help them create a summer blog! Try writing to a family member. As a teacher, I have learned that addressing an envelope is becoming a lost art!
Make a summer reading list. Check out the local library. The Hedburg Public Library in Janesville has summer reading programs and rewards for young children thru teen years.Scholastic Books has a free summer reading challenge as well. Seek Little Free Libraries and make exchanges.
Go on a scavenger hunt. Check online and print out free scavenger hunts for places you are traveling to. Look for ones that might correspond to a zoo or park visit. Often times there are picture and word forms that can span all ages. Create your own if you have knowledge of the place you’re going. With very small children, create a picture hunt of items found in nature. Use a lunch bag to look for and collect the items.
Seek educational programs. Go online and checkout places you’d like to visit. Check the Teacher or Education sections to find out about special events. The Henry Vilas zoo is free and often has animal related events. The Hedburg Public Library sponsors many events during the summer including magicians.
Go grocery shopping. I know. With small children this has potential to end poorly, but go anyway. Have your child use estimation to keep track of your grocery bill. Give them an official mini notepad and a pen (If the pencil breaks you’re out of luck!) to make a list of estimated prices. If your child is older, they can use exact amounts.
Get online. While I’m a huge supporter of outside free play, but there are some fun online games that support education. For math instruction, try Khan Academy. Search StoryJumper, ABC Pocket Phonics, or Booksy for free or low cost reading app options.
Get offline. Get off your phone, media, and screens (Yes, I realize I just told you about apps.). Eat dinner at the table. Cook with your child. Teach manners and kitchen skills. Pick a trail and go for a walk, stare at the clouds, or hear the birds. Do a random act of kindness.
Make use of rainy days. Check out local children’s museums, Maddy Strong Studio Art Studio in Milton, kids paint activities, or the YMCA pool.
Whichever activity you choose, remember to keep the activity low-key and under an hour. Have fun, learn, and enjoy the summer!