mother and childWe all know the statistics: our children can lose some 6-8 weeks’ worth of learning over the summer.  And every year we try to sneak in some learning—even if it kills us.

I lucked out a bit so far.  My nine year old daughter Hannah is at a two-week sleepover Spanish language camp. While I miss her dearly, I know she is having fun and learning every day. (Not so much my teenage boys who are sleeping in as I write this, but that’s another story!)

But she’s coming back soon, and I thought it might be a nice time to remind us all of some techniques to keep our children’s minds active while the sun is shining.  Here are four great tips—two that I’m reusing from last summer and two new ones.

Create A Website:  Before Hannah left for camp, she and her pal Sadie created a new business:  Pawesome Dog Walkers (get it?). They spent countless hours creating a corresponding website.  They used weebly.com, but there are any number of free sites you can use.  They discussed and created taglines, photos, text, and so on, and when she gets back from camp they intend to build more. Whether or not anyone besides proud parents will use the site is largely irrelevant—they had fun and learned a lot along the way.

Skip The Standards:  Skip the “time-tested” but time-wasting car trip standbys like Bingo, Hangman, and Tic Tac Toe, and create new family traditions like rhyming games (e.g., “What does a silly person sit on? A fool stool”) or maze making, where they create mazes for siblings or parents. Another good game is Who Lives There?, where you point out a house and ask questions about who lives there, what they do, what is the most surprising event to ever happen to that family, and so on.  After two houses, ask your child to make up a story where the two families meet.

Memorization That Matters:  Okay, I know that memorization is wayyyyy overused in school, but I have a soft spot for one form of memorization:  Poems.  Try Caroline Kennedy’s Poems To Learn By Heart or even a Dr. Seuss book (especially if your child loved Right At School’s Dr. Seuss Book Club!).  There is a reason that memorizing poetry is called “learning by heart”—it deepens our relationship with the poems and creates a literary bond that can last a lifetime.

Coding!  The coding craze is spreading, and I’m loving it.  There are two fantastic sites in particular—code.org and tynker.com that we use at Right At School (and at the Rothschild house).  If you haven’t tried these coding sites yet, I think you’ll be surprised at how fun, educational, and addictive they can be.  Your kids think they’re playing games, but they’re actually learning how to code.  This is a perfect antidote to the battle cry we are all about to hear: “I’m Bored; There’s Nothing To Do!”

Have a great summer!  I look forward to seeing your children next fall at a Right At School program near you.  And if we’re not in yet in your child’s school, visit www.rightatschool.com to learn how you can invite us in.

 

Mark

Keeping Kids Active Indoors During This Longgggg WinterHow To Reduce “Back To School” Stress