Ask any student what he or she plans to do this summer, and they’re likely to reply with a resounding, “Nothing!” After two semesters of reading, writing and math it’s a natural response. As parents, our job is to ensure that our child’s academic skills remain sharp over the summer and prevent hard work and progress from slipping away. With parental reinforcement, our children retain more of what they’ve already learned and begin the new school year mentally geared up and ready to build on their mastered skills. Here are 7 easy ways to achieve a happy medium between staying sharp and enjoying summer relaxation:
- Field trips … to Whole Foods: Rather than slipping into a mindless trance in a cart with a built-in TV, ask your child to help locate items on the list, weigh produce and calculate discounts, sales tax, total cost and change.
- A walk in the park: Take excursions to concerts, museums, zoos and aquariums. Or take a weekend trip to a national park, where kids can navigate with trail maps and calculate distances. Read about park features and highlights before leaving the house, and then seek them out when you arrive.
- En route: Make travel time in the car or plane educational with counting games (counting animals, colors or out of state license plates), logic games (like Travel Scrabble) and brainteasers. For example, Brain Quest for the Car (ages 7-12) quizzes students on state capitals, famous historical figures and other American trivia.
- Categorizing and organizing: Encourage your child to start a collection, whether it’s stickers, stamps, state quarters or seashells. Arrange the items in some categorical way (by name, size, color), keep a detailed list of items, and (if applicable) determine their monetary value on the internet.
- Now we’re cooking: Have your child prepare a full meal from start to finish, including selecting the menu, locating recipes online, sticking to a set budget, purchasing the ingredients, and converting between units of measurement. As an added bonus, ask them to calculate calories for the whole meal by counting calories for each individual ingredient.
- Enrich: Introduce your child to something completely new like architecture, code-breaking, voice lessons, Mandarin, Latin and many more one-on-one and small group activities.
- Curl up in a hammock with a good read: For teens, encourage non-fiction reading to gear up for SAT’s and for younger kids, take trips to the library with a Team Tutors booklist in hand.