Easy Summer Days!
Often parents worry that children will fall behind in their reading or math skills during the summer. After all it is a time to relax and just have fun—and should be that way for kids. Here are a few tips for having fun, but still use their math, reading, science, geography, and history skills.
First of all, try to maintain a routine that revolves around meal times. Secondly, try to limit television and video games. While the weather is pleasant, kids can play outside. (Don’t forget the sun block.)
Next, get kids involved in planning and preparing meals. Have them help with grocery shopping, following recipes, and setting the table. I have found that children get excited about helping with meal preparation and actually eat a more balanced diet. You can even have them plot out a family garden and help maintain and harvest it. Its not too late to plant some things, e.g. green beans, herbs. Or, you can plan a trip to the local farmer’s market. Use the harvest in your dinner recipes. Baking cookies, cakes, and pies involves reading and math skills—you can even help them be more creative with recipes by adding other herbs and spices. Kids love to experiment.
Another fun activity for children is to help plan the family vacation---even if you are planning only short excursions. They can find historical sites, nature preserves, caves, and natural lakes in Indiana. They can research topics such as Little Turtle or the Anthony Wayne Trail or any other historical sites you may visit. When you visit these sites, take pictures and make photo albums. Children love to make albums. If they are so inclined they can include a story.
To keep reading skills up, take trips to the library. Our downtown library is awesome and a fun place to visit. Read books together and let them make artistic book reports—like drawings or shoe box scenes using card board and construction paper. Kids like to dress up like book characters, e.g. Harry Potter.
If your kids are interested in nature, try out Fox Island (http://allencountyparks.org/parks/fox-island/) They have several summer activities. On Saturday nights (it has to be dark) local astronomers set up their telescopes on constellations and will often gladly explain the galaxies to children and interested adults.
Evening activities can include card games—many card games require math and reading or thinking skills. I like to play Blackjack with kids because they have to add as well as calculate probability. Chess is another game that requires thinking skills and can even be continued to the next evening.
Lastly, don’t forget such artistic skills as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and quilting. These are talents that are not routinely taught in families anymore, but are fun and feed the creative nature of children---and adults.
Thanks for reading my tips,
Jan Eggiman, RN,MS, LMFT