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Home Forums Parenting Kindergarten & School Age Summer Learning

This topic contains 10 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Cheryl McNamara 4 years, 5 months ago.

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    Erica Boos

    I am looking for some ways to continue the growth of my two school-age children (11 & 8) during the summer without being formal with work books and flash cards. Any suggestions?


    How about becoming a "tourist" in your town or in nearby cities? There are many learning opportunities if you go to places and do things you wouldn’t normally do every day.


    Think about the non-obvious stuff like visiting a nursing home or veteran’s home and spend an hour listening to stories from the older generation. You could have your children create a video diary and interview all kinds of people from policeman to farmers to workers at your local Starbucks. At the end, they will have a better understanding of their community and the people that live and work there.


    If reading is one of the subjects you’d like to continue to encourage, many libraries host summer reading programs for school age kids during the summer months. The library in my town makes a game of it – there is always a program theme and kids get "points" for the amount of pages they read. They can trade these points in for prizes throughout the summer months. Also, there is a fun event for all participants at the end of August – food, games, and of course lots of book-related activities! 


    Bright Horizons offers some really great Learning at Home ideas:




    I use them with my 2.5 year old and they have some really great activities!


    Erica Boos

    Amy- I love this idea and it has definitely gotten me thinking about what we can do in our own neighborhood.


    Our library does have a summer reading program but all of the special events they host are during the day and don’t go well with a working parents schedule.


    Adding a little more responsibility at this age is a great way to keep their brains engaged.  Ask them to write out your shopping lists, count out the money at the store, or count and sort your bedside coin collection.


    There’s also a fantastic writers group in our city called 826 Seattle.  They offer free children’s writing workshops (usually on the weekend).  My oldest son (10) has attended a couple of workshops over the last two summers, and it’s an amazing way to inspire him and encourage him to use his imagination.  They’re in all major US cities and I can’t speak highly enough of the creative programs they offer:




    If you are in or near a big city, museums and zoos often have day programs every week or two that can give great hands on learning.  They also usually have at least 1 night per month that are free admission.  8 and 11 are also old enough to enjoy local plays or storybook productions if there is a local playactors guild.  Nature hikes can provide a ton of science exploration and window shopping at the mall can be used to hone reading, math, and economic skills.


    On a sunny summer day I like to take the kids out to the driveway with some colorful sidewalk chalk. You can let them draw pictures, play games (tic-tac-toe, hangman, etc), write their names or the names of what they see around them, and so much more. It’s the perfect combination of being outdoors while developing creativity and other valuable skills.


    You might consider forming a parent-child book group; it keeps children interested in reading, part of a team w/goals, and it can inspire additional learning. There are web sites and articles w/tips and recommendations.

    My children have fond memories of our book groups. Our whole family would get involved by taking turns to read the book out loud  so that everyone could enjoy the story and practice their out loud reading. We’d vary our experience by reading in different places or in different ways – in the car or into a recorder just to vary the experience. We’d also vary the time by reading in bed in the morning before breakfast or stopping half-way through a bike ride to read another chapter.

    In the summer, our group would meet in the conference room at the library and then go for ice cream or the park to play. We would sometimes have themes and encourage acting out a scene or creating something from the book (my son and I made Puttanesca sauce and Shoefly pie for the group when reading about it in a Lemony Snicket book!) Some of our favorite books also included "field trips" to a related theme (after reading a young readers JFK biography, we toured the JFK library together).

    Maybe it’ll be so much fun for your family and your book group that you carry it on through the school year!


    A great summer activity for older kids is publishing their own book; creativity, writing, reading, drawing, painting, research skills will all come into play! Check out kidpub press and a new book (Baby Bopp The Rising Cop) released by a former Bright Horizons student. (Alexandra Maria Proca, sister of Adrian in P2).

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