It’s August and to most of us, that means one thing — one more month until school. If you’re like many moms you started the summer out with good intentions to keep the kids reading and learning math, but then they ended up in the pool or at the beach every day. Fear not. Now is the best time to get the kids, of any age, back into “school” mode, slowly and steadily. So why not take August to give them a jumpstart on learning for the school year, while making it creative and still fun (and even offering great prizes as incentives)?
Kids learn through everything they do and everywhere they go. Researchers always say that play is the way children learn. But we all know if we send them to public school, there are going to be worksheets, math problems and a lot of reading. So until school starts, here are seven ways to incorporate learning into the last month of summer.
- Did you join the library summer reading program? If so, good for you and great for the kids! Many kids love to read and are incentivized by the prizes. Even if you didn’t enroll them, you can start your own summer reading club right now. Offer prizes for number of minutes (or books) read. You can pick up prizes at dollar stores or even consider offering certificates to the older kids that they can cash in for a day out somewhere they’ve been begging to go (an amusement park or the movies?). Libraries also offer classes so see if they still have openings and sign up the kids.
- Buy an age appropriate workbook. No groans. Believe it or not, some kids really love to do them especially on long car rides (and again, the prize system works well here).
- Read with them. That’s a no-brainer but often we get busy as summer means late bedtimes and distractions, but reading out loud fosters skills they will need in the classroom so take turns reading pages to each other. You can also read to the family as a whole; classic books such as Harry Potter, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Winnie the Pooh or anything by Roald Dahl are very popular and very fun to read…but any book is always a good start! Read our post Summer Book Suggestions for Reluctant Readers.
- Give them an e-reader. Some kids are so into electronics that it may be the only way to get them reading excitedly. Let them download free books like from the library so you don’t go broke purchasing them.
- Don’t forget apps. There are so many apps that incorporate reading, math, deduction and reasoning skills. Everything from Sudoku and puzzles to math games can make learning fun and keep their skills sharp.
- Have them pick up the pens and pencils and actually write. This is a skill that is suffering nowadays isn’t it? Have them write letters to relatives, short poems or “what I did this summer” lists so they can file it away in a scrapbook or a memory box. Keeping handwriting skills sharp is important for school.
- Don’t forget the value of hands-on learning. For example, visit science centers, museums, nature centers, caverns and go hiking just to mention a few. Try to get the kids to new places to broaden their horizons and let them get creative with play. Learning is a never ending process that enriches our lives in so many ways. Keeping kids excited about learning is key. Read our post Fun Family Vacations on Long Island.
If you feel your child is struggling and you need more help, Long Island has many excellent resources. Read more about local tutoring and learning centers locally here.
By Debra Ferrie
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net