Whether you are working from home or simply need a break from being the entertainment coordinator, finding independent learning activities for your kids is essential during the summer months. You need to have activities on hand that you can point them to when the inevitable “I’m bored” is voiced. Here are some activities that will keep kids learning in the summer months. While they may not seem like direct learning activities, they will help your kids’ minds stay active, and sometimes encourage an active body, too.
Summer is a time when kids lose what they have learned throughout the school year. In fact, in math, students can lose an average of 2.6 months of instructional activity during the summer months. One of the easiest ways to keep kids from losing what they have learned through the summer is to get them reading.
Kids need to read a wide range of things, and they need a lot of time to read. Set aside set times during the day to be reading times, and consider joining the summer reading club at your local library. If that is not available, create your own reading challenge, or offer a reward for every book read during the summer. If your kids are too young to read independently, use audio books too keep their minds engaged.
2. Plant a Garden
While planting a garden will require a little bit of your help at the beginning, once the plants are in the ground, your children can tend to them, water them and weed the garden on their own. While they do, they will be absorbing knowledge about growing plants. You just might inspire a green thumb in the process. As a bonus, gardening is physically active work, so you can help your kids burn off some of that energy.
3. Independent Art
All moms know that some art activities require a bit too much hands-on parental attention. Instead of asking your kids to create a specific item, give them some free art playtime. Provide the materials, set up a safe environment to use them (even outside if they are too messy), and let them create whatever their hearts desire. Tailor the activity to your child’s abilities. Keep it simple for younger ones, such as coloring time, and provide more complex items for older children.
4. Dance Party
Teach kids about different genres of music by organizing a dance party. Have a handful of CDs that cover different types and styles of music, or load a variety onto your playlist, then encourage the kids to play the music and move to the sound. Once they know what they are doing, you will be surprised at the creative movements they will come up with, all without your help.
5. Send Them Outside
If your kids are old enough to play unsupervised outside, send them out! If you have a safe, fenced-in yard with some children’s play things, you can send them out without structured adult supervision and just let them play. Kids will use their imaginations to come up with all sorts of interesting games to play, and they will also have the chance to interact with nature. Position yourself near a window so you can see if any incidents happen, but otherwise let them alone. Even on rainy days, kids can, and should, enjoy some unstructured outside playtime.
Extra Credit: Consider Taking an Online Course
The summer months also offer students the perfect opportunity to get a jump on the school year ahead by catching up on difficult topics, exploring new subjects, learning a new language, and digging deeper with more challenging courses. K12, the leader in K through 12 online education, offers a number of individual online classes developed by educational experts for elementary and high school students. These accredited courses include all core subjects, world languages, and AP and Honors courses. K12 also offers summer school courses specifically designed for the summer months. These are full versions of regular K12 courses that are paced to be completed in the shorter, summer timeframe. They include credit recovery courses as well as elective courses.
[schedule on=’2015-05-01′ at=”08:00″ expon=’2015-05-31′ expat=”23:55″]This month only, K12 courses are on sale! K12 is offering 15 percent off online courses for independent study for grades K through eight, and 10 percent off online courses with teacher support through May 31st for all grades. The teacher-supported classes are available for credit with instruction from fully qualified teachers. To receive this discount, purchase a course online using the promo code Spring2015 or call 866.609.9579 by May 31, 2015. [/schedule]