Promoting school readiness all summer long

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Family in the summerTips to help you keep your child’s mind engaged throughout the summer

As the summer quickly approaches, many parents are thinking about summer plans for their children and activities to keep them engaged and learning. Our child development experts share their tips for a summer of fun and learning to help children retain what they learned all year long throughout the summer.

As we begin to quickly approach summer many families may be starting to think about plans for their child and activities to keep them engaged and learning for the season. The dreaded sentence “I’m bored” or “there’s nothing to do!” can put pressure on parents wondering what to do that is fun for the kids but also incorporates learning into their day so they don’t return to school having forgotten all the skills and elements/notions/ideas/theories they had learned in the previous year. Here are some tips to help make this summer fun and full of learning!

Summer time learning tips

First, find out what your child is most interested in and try to incorporate that into some of your days. Do they like dinosaurs? Take them to the museum! Dancing? Take them to a dance recital or sign them up for a dance class! These things can help them learn more about something they’re interested in, while keeping their mind engaged. Afterwards, ask them to write down what they liked most about the place you visited or event you attended and what they disliked. This will get them really thinking about the place they went while also working on their fine motor skills by practicing their printing and writing skills for school in the fall. Fine motor skills are important to work on at a young age to assist your child with learning many different skills including picking up items, completing art related activities or even building with blocks.

If you find writing is something they struggle with there are many different ways to practice while making it fun. Practicing printing is something you can do while kids are still young and have minds that are ready to learn. Ask your child to write you a story about themselves or any topic they like! Drawing can also be beneficial as it will help them get used to holding a pencil and work on strengthening muscles in their hand essential for their grasp. You will notice by practicing with just a pencil, other skills your child might be struggling with such as doing up buttons or tying their shoelaces may begin to come easier as they learn more about using their hands.

If your child needs to develop their spatial reasoning skills, you can help them do so by using a scavenger hunt which may incorporate math computation and geography skills to strengthen their spatial orientation skills. By developing a scavenger hunt and using age appropriate directions, hints and clues, you can reinforce the notions of: calculating a perimeter, calculating meters, and estimating spatial orientation skills, such as choosing east or west (or left and right for younger children). A fun scavenger hunt with specific theoretical lessons learned over the school year (with pen and paper) may be consolidated as generalized knowledge through play and activity.

For those parents who are reading this and thinking to themselves “my child does not enjoy any of this!” No need to fear, just do what they think of as “work” in bits and pieces. If your child struggles with reading, ask them to read a few pages of a book after lunch or dinner each day. Keeping the same routine everyday will help keep your child focused on the task at hand and knowing they can go outside and play afterwards will be all the more reason to finish the reading of the day. If they would rather play video games take them to the bookstore or the library and find books for them to read about video games or another topic they are interested in. Once you have a book they are truly interested in you may find you do in fact have a little bookworm on your hands!

It is important to keep your child’s mind engaged over the summer months to ensure they don’t go back to school needing extra help with skills they have already learned. Keeping them busy with fun activities will continue to expand their minds and make the transition back to school in the fall that much easier.

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