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The summer months are a great time to facilitate educational activities with your child. Two months away from school and educational activities can do damage to your child’s academic progress. Below are a few ways to engage your child in fun, educational activities that will lead him//her to becoming a life-long learner.
1. Read, read, read! Participate in summer library reading programs and set reading goals. Give your child incentives for reaching their goals. Take it a step further and have your child give a book report to the family.
2. Learn new words. Choose a word each week for the family to learn and use in daily dialogue. Have fun with creating a family dictionary of new words.
3. Visit museums. Most cities have at least one museum (I.e. Art, history, children’s, etc.). The admission fees are typically minimal. Load up the van with a couple of your child’s friends and make a day of learning. Exposure to new experiences is key to your child’s development.
4. Tour a college. It’s never to early to take your child to visit a college/university campus. The earlier they are exposed to one, the greater the chance they will want to attend. Tour a variety of colleges so they can get a feel for college life and find their unique fit. For older children (high school age), make sure you set up a tour with an admissions counselor prior to attending to get the most out of your visit.
5. Experiment with cooking, camping, nature hikes, or art. Whatever your child has an interest in, find unique ways to allow them to further explore it. Try new recipes or make a cook book. Take a cooking class. Attend an art camp or make crafts at home. Go to a botanical garden and learn about plants and flowers. Go on a family camping trip and journal your experience.
6. Practice writing. Have your child keep a journal or write creative stories. Write letters to family members about their summer experiences or have them find a pen pal.
7. Host a tea party and allow them to learn the fine art of etiquette from sending invitations to decorating to planning the event.
8. Encourage engagement in dramatic arts by having your child (and maybe some friends) write a play and act it out. You could even turn it in to a dinner theater by having food and inviting parents.
9. Encourage healthy lifestyles by being active. Exercise daily and have family jump roping challenges or go skating. Get a couple of families together and play kick ball or basketball. Go to the park and run/walk.
10. Engage the mind with family puzzle night or game night. Play games that encourage thinking.
Have a fun and productive summer with your children! They will love and appreciate you for it!
~Coletta Jones Patterson