As summer approaches, kids everywhere find themselves in “time to relax” mode, thinking that it’s time to kick back and play. Parents on the other hand are worried that with a few months off their children won’t stay sharp, and with this break have a hard time transitioning back to school mode in September. There are many different techniques and games that parents can use to make learning fun in the summer. The main focus of any activity that you try with your child in the summer has to have aspects of indirect learning. Mr. Brent, Assistant Director at The Children’s Workshop in Smithfield, discussed this topic on The Rhode Show. Watch his segment here!
Let’s be honest, today’s youth see summer as a time to play and are very resistant to any type of formal summer learning. Formal summer learning can also have the stigma of summer school attached to it, which sometimes can single out a child from their peers. Many children today play with groups of kids in the neighborhood, or parents find themselves with groups of kids at their house saying the dreaded “we’re bored”. Here at The Children’s workshop we learn through our play, many times the kids don’t even know how many skills they are working on when we play organized games or activities. Here are some fun summer activities that you can do with the kids that don’t make it seem like they are learning at all.
On hot days Parents are always looking for games you can do inside instead of their kids just sitting on electronics all day. Many classic board games can be used to keep math skills sharp in the summer, let’s look at monopoly. Monopoly can teach kids counting skills with the roll of the dice, as well as how many spaces you need to move based on the dice. Adding and subtracting skills are also used when it comes to paying and collecting the money. This game also crosses other learning domains including reading skills with the chance and property cards.
Bean bag toss: For this math sharpening game you would just need three hula hoops that you assign different number values, for example 100, 200, and 300. Each child takes turns tossing the bean bag into whatever hula hoop they want and adding the numbers up to a certain determined score. To make it harder for the older kids, have them alternate turns and if they land in the same hoop they can cancel each other out, by doing this there will be a more complex thinking of having to add and subtracting each turn.
Literacy & Writing:
Again for those hot days that you are stuck inside there are always games you can play that can be used to sharpen writing and reading skills. One game we like to use is a version of scategories, but with a twist. One just a regular piece of computer paper make 5 lines going horizontally across the paper, then 5 lines going vertically, making what looks to be a checkerboard. On the left most Colum you put categories like boys name, girls name, singer, movie title, country, and food. Then you pick a letter of the alphabet and each child, and yourself because it is very important to play with the kids because when you’re interested they are interested, has one minute to fill in each category with a word that starts with that letter. For example if we chose B then they could use Brent, Brianna, Beyonce, Bolt, Bermuda, and Bacon to align with the categories we chose. If you have the same answer as someone else you would cancel out, for each different answer you would get a point. This game is great because it crosses many different domains; math with adding up the ones you got right, writing, as well as spelling skills.
It is very important that children not only get out and exercise their bodies during the summer, but also their minds. Many outdoor games like Horse ( basketball trick shot game) can actually do both. Indirect learning, where the children feel like they are just playing games and not learning, does make them less resistant to any type of learning. Many board games that we have been playing since we were kids have taught us many skills without even realizing it. Learning should always be fun and active, and the summer months gives us an opportunity to teach kids with activities that we wouldn’t normally get to do inside the classroom.