Teachers warn parents to keep up some reading, math, and science during the summer, so kids are fresh to learn in September. August is the month to be thinking about that. But how do you do this without kids feeling their summer’s being interrupted by boring school stuff?
1. Get away from screens and go to a book store. Take some snacks and settle in.
Have your kids find their favorite interests and search through the books with them. Find a comfortable couch and read to your child from the books she’s chosen. Even if she can read, entertain her. Use exciting tones of voice and play out the characters. Get laughing and have a good time. If you decide to buy some books, all the better, but it’s an afternoon of reading fun that’s the aim.
2. Go to a hands-on children’s science museum
Engage with your kids in all the experiments that these great places offer. Actively participate with your child enthusiastically. There will be all kinds of math activities that don’t feel like school, but feel like adventure.
3. Go to the beach.
The beach offers many opportunities for making math fun. Take along a bunch of friends and pails and see who can count the most shells or stones. Then go home and make an art project. All you need is cardboard, paste and glue and you can build all kinds of architectural feats with the collections. Take out a ruler and measure the buildings you make and you’re doing math without ever uttering the word. The treasures you build are your reward along with the learning.
4. Find an ecological-friendly zoo.
Study the natural habitat of animals as you watch them take care of their young. Feed them where you’re allowed to. Show your kids how to observe closely how they communicate with each other. Ask your kids if you think the animals have feelings and identify what they might be. Later write a story (you can do the writing so it’s not a chore) about your favorite animals and make a cover for their own story book to read on their own. You’ve just helped your child become an author.
5. Cook together.
Cooking involves all kinds of reading and math skills from reading recipes to measuring varying amounts. You have to figure out how many teaspoons make a tablespoon, how to use eighths, quarters, and half cups of different ingredients. If you want to teach about health, make a nutritious dessert. If you want to go all out, count the right amount of sugar, cups of chocolate, and make a yummy cake. Don’t worry about the mess and make sure the kids do all the measuring. It’s all math but we just don’t call it that and then we have a feast!
6. Make libraries a fun place to go on a rainy day.
Libraries often have reading contests during the summer with prizes for the most books read. But don’t make it ominous, make it fun by choosing a theme like baseball players or romance or a favorite author. They don’t have to win the library prize, create one of your own, so it’s not a competition. Read to each other like in a play and it’s lots of fun and not taxing. Then draw pictures of the story’s events and hang them around the house.
Remember no pressure, no judgment about reading skills. The idea is just to keep reading, everything else like reading skills and reading comprehension take care of themselves because you’re reading what’s enjoyable.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author who specializes in infant-parent, child, adolescent and adult psychotherapy. Her upcoming book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior, can be pre-ordered at Amazon at a discount and released Oct. 13.