Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tips for Keeping Kids Engaged in Learning

How do you keep kids engaged in learning during Summer Breaks from school especially if parents work during the day or obligations keep you from traveling to far away places?

Here are some tips for keeping your kids engaged and reading, writing, and doing math skills up to their grade level and beyond during long summer days.

  • Take advantage of the internet. Give your child a topic and let them explore the internet within limits for information about it. Make topics original, age appropriate, and pertinent to their interests. Example:  If your child loves baseball let them plan a virtual trip to visit Fenway Park in Boston. Let them search for the history behind the park, google a map, let them plan a fictitious vacation including the cost, mileage, meals, and hotels. Give bonus points for historical information.
  • Encourage a reading contest between siblings and offer points for the winner of the most books.
  • Give your older children the amount of the family income and the general monthly payments including food and entertainment. Let each child make a family budget. Give bonus points for the best budget that offers the family the best savings/spending plan. Initiate the budget for a month and reward the kids with points for success. They can write out the bills as if they were really writing checks and attempt to balance the family budget or look into easy investments. Kids need to learn about the financial aspect of running a family so make it realistic and fun. After working their budget for a month, use the savings for a family outing.
  • Plan fieldtrips to inexpensive places in your town or surrounding areas. Find an interesting museum, a historical figure from your area, a park, or statue with some history to learn about.
  • Build something with your child. Birdhouses, butterfly houses, bat houses, or garden beds can be interesting crafts but also a fun learning experience.
  • Teach your child to cook or prepare an easy desert. Kids love to make food items or to work with their hands. Measuring ingredients and reading a recipe are good ways to increase reading and math skills.
Use your imagination to encourage your child to develop a new interest or start a new hobby. Look to nature for inspiration for craft ideas or search the library or book store for inspiration. With some encouragement such as a point system or a reward your child can keep learning while having fun and without loosing the skills gained from the school year.

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