After what has felt like the longest school year EVER, it seems like an impossible feat to get your kids to focus on any academics. Of course they would rather play outside, hang out with friends, go to the beach or do just about anything that is NOT school related. Well I am here to tell you that academics do not have to get pushed to the side this summer. There are great ways to “sneak” it in everyday activities while still having fun and avoiding the eye rolls and groans.
5 Great Ways to “Sneak” In Academics
- Label colors EVERYWHERE you go: The ability to label colors, numbers, letters and objects is a foundational skill needed to move on in school.
- Count EVERYTHING you see (seashells, lightening bugs, flowers, beach balls, sprinkles on an ice cream cone, etc.): Counting is the foundation of math so count away this summer!
- Make art projects at home or at local stores such as Michaels, Lowe’s and Home Depot. This helps boost visual, spatial and motor skills. Art projects also spark creativity and imagination!
- Read books every day: Reading to your kids helps increase language development and vocabulary.
- Pick a letter a day and point out everything that starts with that letter: This helps increase letter-word identification and reading readiness skills.
- Write in a journal each day: Most school age kids find journaling fun and a great way to express themselves. It also helps increase writing skills and creativity.
- Cook together: Preparing a meal together not only promotes family bonding but is also helps develop language, reading and math skills.
- Visit a museum and/or zoo: Kids have so much interactive fun at museums and zoos, and they don’t even realize they are increasing their vocabulary and general knowledge!
- Create a chores chart that results in a weekly reward: Assigning chores teaches children about responsibilities and time management. It also teaches them cause and effect (your perform a task, you get a reward). By developing a chart, math skills are used to tally up points and figure out how many are needed to earn the coveted reward.
- Read books every day/Join a summer reading program: It is well known that reading is crucial in academic and cognitive development. It expands vocabulary and increases general knowledge.
- Write in a journal daily: As stated above, journaling helps with self-expression while improving writing skills.
- Create a chores chart that results in a weekly allowance: As kids get older, it is vital that they learn independent living skills as well as adult responsibilities such as doing laundry, washing dishes and cleaning. Providing an allowance teaches kids the basic rules of the work force; you work to earn money! Kids can then use functional math skills to keep track of their money.
- Attend summer camp or be a counselor in training: Summer camp offers a great opportunity for social interaction, exercise, independence and FUN! Being a counselor in training increases leadership skills and self-confidence.
- Join a summer reading program: As stated above, reading is crucial in overall academic and cognitive development. Older kids also love the goal-setting and rewards associated with most summer reading programs.
- Play video games: Yes, you read correctly, I said let them play video games. Look parents, at that age, it is very hard to win that battle, but you can decide what they can play. Require your kids to play educational games first in order to EARN time to play their game of choice. Games involving building and creating are perfect for cognitive development, and most kids find them fun and exciting too! (Advice: Limit game play to 1-2 hours a day. Encourage them to play outside, especially when the weather is nice!)
- Tour colleges/technical schools: This can help increase motivation and drive about furthering his/her education. When motivated, academics become less of a chore.
- Get a part time job as a lifeguard or camp counselor: Working helps increase independence, responsibility, time management and self-esteem. It also boosts functional math skills as they must keep track of their hours and earnings.
- Volunteer: Helping others enhances social awareness and boosts self-esteem.
- Open a checking/savings account: Allowing your child to open his own account will give them a greater sense of independence. It also increases math skills.
- Plan one full day of a family vacation: Having your child plan at least one full day of a vacation has so many benefits. It allows them to feel more involved and in control. It also requires organization, time management and math skills. When planning, your child should be required to read about the location and it’s history, and then provide parents with details and facts during his/her planned day. He/she could also be your tour guide for the day.
As you can see, it’s pretty easy to incorporate education into summer fun! So enjoy your summer while helping your kids grow, academically, cognitively, socially and emotionally!