Summer is fast approaching! While my children and I are enjoying the first couple weeks of our summer vacation, I’m still looking for some summer fun educational activities.
Summer vacation for us is merely a time when we steer away from workbooks and delve, with abandon, into the awesome world of independent learning.
I love how much learning my children do without having any idea that they are learning.
For example, my oldest plays with Legos for hours while listening to American history by Rush Limbaugh.
My second daughter lives and breaths art and often I find her surrounded with crayons, markers, and paper.
And, my four-year-old son busily collects bugs and creatures of all sorts to carry about in jars.
Jointly they wander off into a wonderful world of make believe they have discovered out by the swing set. Inspired by Narnia, it is a world of good and evil, kings and queens, hope and anticipation.
Be still my heart … play long my children…
But the teacher/mom in me cannot totally keep my hands off their summer fun education. I’d like to share with you a few easy ways to incorporate education into your summer fun vacation days (and they won’t even know they’re learning)!
5 Simple Ways to Learn Without Wrecking Summer Fun
Summer Fun Learning Tip #1: READ!
My favorite way of learning!
Over the months of schooling, I sneak longing glimpses at my long-collected stack of childhood literature — some, treasures from my own childhood days. In the midst of all the other reading aloud I do while teaching, it becomes poorly neglected.
This summer I am excited to enter into some wonderful literature with my children.
We’re starting out with Old Tangle Eye by Ralph E Johnston. On a map hung over our retired chalk board, we are charting the journey of the Merrill family as they pioneer at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
We won’t exhaust the huge and brilliant world of great literature for children, but we will travel to some amazing places from our own back yard.
Looking for great summer read-alouds? Check out this list from Jenny Phillips.
Also ask your local library about a summer reading program.
This is something our children enjoy throughout the summer months.
Summer Fun Learning Tip #2: Involve your children in a work of empathy and community.
Being involved in the foster care world, I learn that we are not just foster parents, but we are a foster family.
Even through the hard, exhausting times I love how involved my children become in helping hurting families. I love how it stretches their little hearts and teaches them to care for and reach out to people outside our normal social circles.
This is no campaign for foster families (although there is always a great need for foster families so, if you’re interested…).
But, there are many other ways to help your children give to the community:
• Take cookies, or deliver a pizza to your local police department, doctors office, nurses station, or veterinary clinic. Thank them for their service to the community.
• Take flowers to the nursing homes and allow yourself time to visit with the patients that don’t often get visitors.
TRY THIS : THANKFUL ACTIVITIES | GRATITUDE STONE CRAFT
• Volunteer at the local soup kitchen or pregnancy center. I’ve never been brave enough to work at the soup kitchen with my little helpers, but we’ve enjoyed labeling stacks of outgoing mail for the local pregnancy center. Invite a few friends, grab a cup of coffee, and help your children enjoy sticking stickers and stacking papers.
Summer Fun Learning Tip #3: Visit a graveyard.
What a great way to teach math and history and give your children an appreciation for life, time, and people!
Choose an old sprawling graveyard and with paper and pen, wander the centuries. Figure out how long the people lived, talk about how life was then, and lay flowers on an old long forgotten grave.
Also, do some rubbings of old gravestones. It’s a great way to preserve the history you’ve learned!
Summer Fun Learning Tip #4: Let your children grocery shop.
I tried this a couple years ago with my girls, and I’m excited to do it again now that they are older.
Give your kids a budget and take them grocery shopping for a meal that they will cook.
Some children will be glad to grab frozen pizza and others, more culinarily inclined, will be glad for the chance to try out their skills.
Coach your child, only as much as their age and understanding of money requires.
Allow them space to shop thriftily, yet creatively.
Summer Fun Learning Tip #5: Get hands on with science.
Visit your local conservation office. Our children enjoy the lobby filled with taxidermy and hands-on fun, the butterfly garden, and the nature trails. Our conservation office also offers an hour, weekly of child friendly, family fun, science and nature classes.
Last summer we had the fun of feeding a monarch caterpillar, watching it turn into a chrysalis and then, a couple weeks later, a butterfly.
At the moment, thanks to a friend, we are raising tadpoles and pond snails. They are feeding on the roots of impatiens so beautifully gracing the top of the jar. We’re all excited to watch the tadpoles grow.
Whatever you choose to do for summer fun, may your days be merry and bright, filled with childhood fun, freedom, and refreshment.
Anita Byler is a homeschooling mother of three, finding joy in the little moments. Read more at littlemomentsgreatjoy.wordpress.com.