Smart Summer Tips to Keep Kids Learning

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As your child’s summer vacation enters the final stretch, you may be wondering how to strike a healthy balance between excessive down time and intellectual stimulation. Bridging this gap now will definitely ease your child’s adjustment back to the comparatively demanding school routine. To maximize those final summer days and keep kids on their game, consider:

Summer Reading
Kids with required school reading may think summer should be book-free. The key to making it fun is tapping into children’s special interests. Whether that’s baseball, science fiction, green living, cooking, art, animals or nature, there are age-appropriate books that can captivate kids.

Local Culture
No matter where you live, you can usually access some culture through museums, art exhibits, music or dance events. It’s a great time to explore new, horizon-expanding possibilities in your own back yard. Nearby cities can offer a whole new range of options.

Field Trips
How about short outings in your vicinity to spark new kid interests? You could visit a horse stable and observe lessons or grooming, check out a farm or nursery, see if your child can watch a local chef in action, or learn how wine is made at a nearby winery.

Fairs & Festivals
Most communities have a series of fairs and celebrations annually. Learn about upcoming events through your town council, chamber of commerce, or event listings in local publications. These outings offer a fun way to get kids away from TV/computer screens.

Creative Projects
With a little guidance, kids can embrace many creative projects. One example is making a “life board,” consisting of cut out magazine images of things kids like to do, places they want to visit, favorite foods, etc. Cooking/baking projects are another fun option.

Gardening
Depending on where you live, many items can be planted in late summer. If you haven’t done so yet, let kids dig in─literally. Pots and other containers work well if space is limited. Learn more about year round container gardening here: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/container/basics/year-round-container-gardens/

Summer “Research”
Engage kids in researching/writing about a topic of interest. They’ll find that learning more about Native Americans, endangered animals, other cultures, or a given sport can be fun. You might also invite kids to write a “How To” article on something they know about.

Finally, suggest a little grade-specific review on spelling, vocabulary and math topics. Many stores carry fun workbooks, and you can find great educational websites here: http://www.bestedsites.com/

These ideas can help rejuvenate the last weeks of summer and facilitate a smooth “back to school” transition. Happy learning!

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