Once the calendar flips, both students and parents look forward to warmer weather, sunny days, and the lack of school-based responsibilities. The constant shuttling between activities, packing lunches, and pouring over homework assignments takes a break for a blissful few weeks. However, this doesn’t mean that your child’s education also needs to take a break! There are plenty of ways to continue your child’s educational experience over the summer. Here are five fun (and educational!) ways to spend your summer vacation.
1. Museum Memberships
Museum membership prices tend to drop over the summer months, as museums look to bring in students and their families during times that they know will bring high attendance. If you are signed up for a science, history, or art museum membership, you will likely also receive bonus perks such as sneak peaks at new exhibits, free behind-the-scenes previews, or members-only events that are perfect for letting your child feel like a VIP for a day. A bonus? You’ll find most museums are air-conditioned, which is a perfect reprieve from sweltering summer days.
2. STEAM Projects
Summertime is the perfect opportunity for children to pursue STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and music) projects at their leisure. You can create an overnight crystal garden, a cloud in a jar, or straw rockets to look at propulsion and physics from a fun point of view. This is ideal when kids begin the plaintive whine of, “I’m bored!” With several STEAM projects ready to go, kids will learn while they keep themselves occupied.
3. Free Play
How is free play educational? Studies have shown that there is a tremendous benefit to a child’s prefrontal cortex when allowed to engage in unstructured free play. It also benefits a child’s independent decision-making skills, as well as their critical thinking. Take a peek next time you see your child playing in the backyard with their friends. Chances are this free play involves independent decision-making skills, creativity to invent rules and boundaries, as well as complex kinesthetic movements.
4. Outdoor Concerts
Summertime is the perfect venue for you and your child to take in an outdoor concert. From classical, to jazz, to country, to rock n’ roll, music takes on a new life during warmer months. Seeing live music teaches social skills, listening skills, and cultivates an appreciation for the arts. Studies have shown that kids who are actively involved in music perform better in reading and math, and are also able to better regulate their bodies and emotions.
5. Summer Nature Projects
Warmer months provide the perfect opportunity for children to examine our natural world. It can be as easy as collecting rocks and sand at the park and examining them under a microscope, or taking samples of the local creek water to test for PH levels with a litmus strip. You can even use nature as your canvas for art projects, such as using sidewalk chalk to paint tree bark, or using leaves to create canvas art.
Don’t let the summer “brain drain” affect your child during these months off from school. By participating in fun, family-centered activities, you’ll enjoy your child’s company while also enriching their academic progress.