The summer holidays are just around the corner, and it’s always nice to allow children to relax and take a break. That said, over the space of a long (hopefully) hot summer, children can often forget a lot of what they’ve learned. They can get out of that "learning” mindset, and find that when they return to school it’s hard to recall many things, and to get back into the habit of learning.
Here are a few simple things you can do to keep that spirit of learning alive in your children over the summer:
Encourage reading. Wherever you’re going, whatever you’re doing, bring reading into it. That might be reading museum guide books; it might be bringing a book to the beach with you. As well as verbally encouraging children to read, parents can reinforce this by being an example. Reading is one of those things that can easily slip if not done for several weeks, and it’s a great activity to do together, virtually anywhere.
Bring maths into everyday life. This could be through baking at home, adding up a shopping basket in the supermarket or counting different types of animals at the zoo. Look for ways to ask basic maths questions which will, if nothing else, bolster your child’s confidence that they are able to do maths.
Be a tourist. You don’t need to leave your home town to be a tourist; many people rarely or never visit the tourist attractions on their own doorstep. Wandering about your local museum, reading the signs and learning about history is a great way not only to keep up reading but also to keep that curiosity and love for learning alive. Many tourist attractions will have fun quizzes or other activities for children to do through the summer holidays which will help with this.
Keep a scrapbook. A scrapbook is a great way to document what you’ve been up to over the summer, but also a way of being creative, of practising handwriting and spelling, and many other skills. These can often become a wonderful keepsake to look back on in years to come.
Try geocaching. Geocaching is like a treasure hunt, with a modern twist. You use a mobile device to find hidden items and can be a great way to get active as well as to brush up on key skills such as navigation and reading. This one is great for older children, but can be fun with younger ones too if parents are able to join in and help. Go to geocaching.com for more information and to create an account.
Make it fun. Whatever you do to help keep your children learning over the summer, do try to make it fun. Remember that many children are absolutely shattered by the end of the summer term and will need a good rest before returning to school in September. Keep the atmosphere light, and try to avoid making learning a chore.