The laid back pace that summer vacation brings offers many benefits to parents and children alike. Summer can be a time of reflection on the year past and renewal for the year ahead. It's a pause in the grind that we all get swallowed up in from September to June. Labour day weekend brings BBQ's, last minute getaway's and for some anxiety and panic about having to shift gears back into being perpetually busy. Here are some helpful tips on how to ease into that busy gear and start some educational habits at home that will help find a balance between Hazy August and Crazy September.
Here are a few family activities that will prime your children for learning when they return to school but are still fun and laid back enough to flow with the vibe of summer.
One of my favourite family activities is a book club. Read daily. Reading out loud is a great way to unwind and bond. It is very important for children to hear you read, they emulate the way in which you deliver text - so emphasise question marks, commas and exclamation marks!!!! Bust out your inner actor and use voices if you can, change your tone where necessary. After each read, discuss it as a family. Ask questions that test their comprehension and make your questions age appropriate. Can they make text to self connections? What about text to text? Can they make predictions? Play the "what if" game. What if the setting was in a ____? What if the main character _______? If the book you chose has a movie made about it (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory??) watch it together and make an event out of it. Celebrate your achievements. Children who have positive learning environments at home generally bring that desire to learn and succeed to school with them.
Are you crafty? Go on a walk with your children and collect "nature" items. When you get home give them a shoe box, glue, markers...whatever you have handy and let them create their own habitats. They can research their habitat before hand and make a replica or they can let their imaginations run wild.
Older Children? Try and find an activity that you can do together daily. Ride a bike, take an evening stroll, play cards or a board game, shoot some hoops. Designate a general time, say after dinner, when you and your child can engage in an activity together. The connection will be great, but what you are doing is setting the foundation for routine and repetition so when Crazy September hits it won't feel so foreign.
Bring math into your kitchen! Muffins anyone? Let your child measure the ingredients and then divide up the goods!! They can even solve some simple problems along the way by hypothesizing possible outcomes such as, " If we had 5 muffins and daddy eats 3 of them....."
Subtle but intentional structure. Creating a routine based on healthy habits such as exercise, cooking and reading will ready your army for combat in September and help take the Crazy out of back to School.
Until our next lesson...
Enjoy your Summer :)