By Rachel Olis
Going back to school isn’t always easy after a summer of relaxation and fun. Getting back into the habits of going to bed early and doing homework can be difficult. However, there are many ways that children can continue learning over the summer, and the transition back into “school mode” can be much more seamless.
“Playing is learning. Activities such as going to the zoo and museums, cooking, crafting and reading can all help children use the skills they already have to continue learning throughout the summer,” said Tara Motte, a teacher in Children’s Sunshine School.
The Sunshine School is a program at Children’s that helps patients stay on top of their schooling. It is staffed by six Alabama state certified teachers who all have the same goal of ensuring children stay educated and reach their highest learning potential despite their circumstances.
Even though students in the Sunshine School may continue their school work throughout the summer, it is important to keep all children’s minds active even when on summer break.
Fortunately, there are many ways to incorporate learning into everyday play time:
- Take trips to the zoo, museums and library.
- Use math skills by cooking and baking.
- Do a science experiment.
- On rainy days, use play dough to craft animals or make secondary colors.
- Use some downtime each day to read for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
- Limit screen time, including television, to an hour and a half and go outside instead!
Summer is also a time for travel and vacations, so use car rides as an opportunity to learn.
- Use a standard deck of cards to play simple games like Go Fish and Crazy Eights, or even pack a set of trivia cards.
- Give each child a journal and have them write down what they see along the way.
- Play the Alphabet Game- pick any topic of interest and take turns naming something within that topic starting with the letter A, and so on.
- Bring a large map and have the kids highlight and sticker all the different roads you take.
- Have the children read. Bring the audio version as well so they can read along or listen if they get car sick.
The summer provides many opportunities for families to spend time together and have fun! However, it is important to ensure that children are keeping active physically and mentally throughout those weeks off.