Incorporating Learning into Summer Fun
For children, learning is an on going process-one that con tinues even after the last bell of the school year. Just because families are gearing up for fun, sun, and relaxation, that doesn’t mean educational activities can’t be incorporated into vacation plans.
Educators remind parents that time off from school shouldn’t mean a vacation from learning. Research shows that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain is growing during the first 20 years of a child’s life-and so the child should always be nurturing, fueling, and exercising his or her brain. A lack of learning activities during the summer months could result in lost stimulation during a critical development period.
“It is just as important for children to participate in learning activities that exercise their growing minds as it is to be involved in physical activities that keep their bodies healthy and strong,” says Giti Reavill-Kiewiet, instructor of the Kumon Math and Reading Center of Saint Petersburg-Pasadena.
Ms. Reavill-Kiewiet recommends the following activities that incorporate learning and engage a child’s brain:
Reading and Writing
o Encourage your child to read aloud to a family member each day
o Write letters together and send to grandparents or friends
o Visit the library weekly, inquire about special events
o Build a kite with your child, cut and measure shapes. Take the kite out for a test flight
o Teach your child to keep score. Review batting averages or other statistics from the sports pages
o Help your child plant some flower or vegetable seeds and chart their growth
o Take walks in the neighborhood or a park, learn about native plants and animals
o Share stories about the history of your family, and work together to draw a family tree
o Research the founders of your town, and visit historical sites
o Provide children with household items and let them make their own instruments
o Help them write a song and perform it together
o Tour an art museum or art exhibit at a county fair
o Encourage your child to draw a picture and give it to a neighbor or friend
No matter what you do, always find something genuinely positive to say to your child every day.
Kumon [K-mon] is an after-school math and reading program. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2008, the learning method uses a systematic individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. Through daily practice and mastery of materials, students increase confidence, improve concentration and develop better study skills. Kumon has 26,000 centers in 45 countries and more than four million students studying worldwide.