Summer break doesn’t have to be a break from learning. Summer is a perfect time of year to help your children acquire skills and knowledge they will need as adults. Encouraging them to do fun, learning activities gives them a healthy outlet for shaping their minds and bodies. Create the right environment for summer learning with the following tips:
Rather than lecturing about staying out of the cookie jar, include your children in meal planning to teach them about healthy eating patterns. Explain nutrition and how healthy (and unhealthy) food affects their mind and body. Poor diets are a grim problem for children nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 12.5 million American children are obese. You can also encourage healthy eating by planning a recipe scavenger hunt. Children can search for healthy recipes and learn how to make the ones they like as their reward.
Children have a natural curiosity and vivid imagination. They love to explore and can make ordinary things seem extraordinary, especially outdoors. United We Serve noted that studies show outdoor play promotes creativity, shapes life skills and enhances physical health. Channel outdoor activities into a time for learning more about the planet and the universe, such as astronomy and earth science. Take your child on nature walks and search for plants and animals native to your local community. Buy a telescope and let them search for the planets and stars in the night sky. Curiosity will fuel desire to learn more!
Teaching children to be unselfish is a parent’s greatest lesson. Your children can learn how to make the world a better place through helping others. In his book, “The 10 Commandments of Parenting,” Pastor Ed Young councils parents about how to not be a passive parent, but teach, love and be a good role mode for their children. Teach your children the value of service by letting them volunteer at a soup kitchen or donating toys and clothes to other needy children. Their service can also involve someone they know personally, suggests Pastor Young. Help them bake cookies for an elderly family member or mow the lawn for a sick neighbor.
Childhood memories are like treasured moments in a person’s life. Encourage your children to preserve these memories by writing in a journal or making a scrapbook. Especially for children who haven’t yet developed a love for writing, making them official family historian will give them purpose and motivation. Encourage them to chronicle family vacations and road trips through a video camera or travel journal. Funny moments, amazing sights and memorable stories that they document will be cherished by the whole family. Meanwhile the little ones will continue to practice their writing, punctuation and spelling skills.
Nothing expands a child’s mind faster than reading books. In a book is where they dream of new worlds and adventurous ideas. Reading plays an influential role in fostering academic excellence. The National PTA noted 66 percent of high school students with achievement gaps in reading did not read in the summer as children. If a movie based on a book is released, read the book together before watching the movie — then compare the two. Throw book-themed parties with friends where they can dress up as favorite characters and play games based on the books. Create a fun energy around reading, and your child will develop an affinity for books.
Written by Guest Author:
Donna is a mom, wife, and freelance writer from Washington. She studied theater and hopes to open a childrens playhouse when her kids grow up.