Parents sometimes feel anxiety when it comes to finding summer learning activities for their children. When school is closed for months and parents have work and their own activities, keeping kids engaged is a challenge.
Sign up for a free Twin Cities Kids Club membership to take advantage of family-friendly activity discounts this summer!
Maintaining Your Kids’ Academic Edge
Schools can do such an excellent job of educating our children and engaging their curious minds. Naturally, many adults worry about their kids “forgetting” what they’ve learned over the summer.
Certainly, you want to keep the skills sharp and maintain the knowledge that children have acquired over the past year.
Thankfully, with young children, parents need not worry quite as much about kids losing any intellectual gains. Of course, any preschool worth its salt engages children across disciplines: math, science, language, art, etc.
However, in many preschools, the primary educational focus for young children is on developing social and cognitive skills.
Parents should certainly continue to work with their children on numbers, colors, shapes, and crafts. However, they should not despair if their preschool-aged child isn’t reading and writing by fall. The important thing is to provide your child with summer learning activities and opportunities that will allow them to explore.
Preschool Summer Learning Activities
Reading and Language
Whether or not your child can read yet, keep them surrounded by books. All kinds of books. Read to your child, encourage them to find letters or even words that they recognize.
Here is our advice for keeping your kids reading this summer.
Furthermore, while reading to your child is wonderful and essential, encourage them to interact with the text. Ask your child questions such as, “What do you think happens next?” Invite children to offer their impressions of different characters or aspects of the plot.
Look at the pictures together and share different things you both notice. Picture books can be a wonderful opportunity to reinforce concepts like shapes, colors, and numbers. Ask your child if they see any shapes or colors they recognize; ask them to count items in the illustrations.
Don’t feel like you need to limit your child’s reading material to books explicitly aimed at their age bracket. Restaurant menus and traffic signs can be useful learning tools while you are out and about.
Finally, don’t rule out audiobooks and podcasts; parents can find many age-appropriate podcasts and audiobooks for children. Kids can learn more about almost any subject in which they are interested with an audiobook or podcast. They can hear classic fairy tales and myths, or even simply listen to and laugh along with a silly story.
Math, Science, and Technology
Schools and parents alike place increasing emphasis on the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). When searching for your child’s summer learning activities, don’t neglect the subjects of math, science, and technology.
Luckily, these topics tend to inspire fairly hands-on activities by their very nature. Teachers need interactive things like experiments, manipulable, and engagement with tablets and computers to teach science, technology, and math concepts.
The interactive nature of these subjects means parents don’t need to worry about finding appropriate summer learning activities for them.
Search around online or in parents’ magazines to find instructions for age-appropriate science experiments. These projects don’t need to be complicated, overly involved, or involve the purchase of a lot of supplies. Some at-home science experiments can be very simple.
Toys and Games
Blocks, interlocking bricks, and magnet tiles are fun ways to develop fine motor skills. These toys also acquaint young children with early engineering concepts at the same time.
While experts (and many parents) frown on excessive screen-time, the reality is screens are here to stay. And during the summer months, parents will have urgent grownup things they have to attend to while kids are around.
Whether it’s work-related, other children who require attention, or another essential activity, sometimes it’s good to have a pinch-hitter.
No one is advocating putting your kid in front of a screen or handing her a tablet to use all day. However, educational screen time while mom or dad gets some stuff done is not necessarily a bad thing.
Many apps exist for children of all levels, across various educational disciplines, made by educational experts and professionals. Parents can find trustworthy organizations and app developers who turn out curriculum-inspired apps for tablets and phones.
Adults need not feel too guilty about engaging a child with educational screen time. In fact, to teach your child early concepts in coding and computer programming, computers and tablets are usually essential. Do your research, and you will find apps that you feel comfortable – even good – about putting in your child’s hands.
Make Summer Learning Activities a Family Affair
Consider a family game night (or afternoon, or morning) with an educational card or board game. The benefits won’t only come from engaging with educational material, however.
Parents or grownups can get everyone involved, strengthen, and develop family bonds, all while teaching problem-solving and conflict resolution.
Or, families can take the summer learning activities outside. Take advantage of warm weather to go on a nature walk and learn about different plants and animals. Parents could organize a scavenger hunt for the whole family and go explore your neighborhood together.
Get a Twin Cities Kids Club Membership for More Fun Summer Learning Activities
The Twin Cities offer various enrichment opportunities for children and families all year long. Don’t let cost deter you from taking advantage of all they have to provide for you and your kids!
Signing your child or children up for different lessons and camps can be helpful to parents and children alike. Kids get social interaction with their peers while learning a new skill, and moms and dads can do things kid-free.
Sign up for a free Twin Cities Kids Club membership; your family will be eligible for activity and class discounts. The opportunities are not limited to educational or extracurricular endeavors, either. Twin Cities Kids Club members can also get discounts at local businesses and restaurants.