Summer vacation is here, and your school-age kid probably has one plan—let their brain spend the next two months unwinding from the patterns of school and learning. And that’s just fine. The break does them good. Like a good night’s sleep, summertime relaxation lets them file away what they’ve learned and internalize the important bits.
But that doesn’t mean all learning has to stop. Far from it. But now, it’s up to you to be the teacher. Just a few ideas:
- Cook with your kids. Kid-friendly recipes encourage precision and following an orderly process. Letting them experiment in baking touches on chemistry and math, especially multiplication and fractions. For a history lesson, find period cookbooks in your local library.
- Get them journalling. You just know that the first day back at school one teacher is going to make everyone stand up and talk about what they did all summer. Encourage your kid to be the one ready to rock that assignment with a notebook full of stories. Print out their own photos to include, and any souvenirs that can be slipped between the pages. A tan summer-selfie, a press-dried flower, and a national parks pass can tell a whole story all on their own.
- Let your child plan a family day. Give them a budget and sit down with them to do the research. Task them with choosing something everyone will enjoy, somewhere to eat, maybe even somewhere to stay, and help them find all the information they need.
- Your local library probably has a summer reading program. Challenge your kid to join in by adding your own prizes, or by informally joining yourself. Keep a chart at home so everyone can see and compare their progress. Tailor the prizes to how popular reading is among your family. If books are always strewn about anyway, the incentive doesn’t have to be big. If reading anything longer than a magazine article is like pulling teeth, make sure your prize will encourage them to push themselves.
Two months is a long time to a young kid (or their parent), but always seems to be over before you know it. With your help, it won’t be long enough to get out of the habit of thinking like a scholar before the new school year puts them back behind a desk.