Summer Learning Day is July 13th and we have some tips to bring your family together and make learning fun for everyone – big and small. This national event focuses on the importance of continuing the learning over the summer, which can be an opportunity to create special memories and get kids excited about exploring their world.
What are your family’s interest? Ask them what they have always wondered about, or want to learn more about this summer. Is your family full of animal lovers or do they dream of going to space one day? There are plenty of resources and activities to utilize and participate in related to any topic your family may be interested in.
Once everyone decides on a topic, use print and digital resources to gain some background. Have older kids research books, videos, or websites on the topic. Choose a Family Night movie related to the topic your family is studying. For example, the film Field of Dreams is an entertaining way to introduce and spark the family’s interest in baseball.
Follow up the movie with a good book. A well-written fiction book engages and can create lifelong readers. Read the book aloud before bed, or find some time to relax as a family and discuss the book together. Definitely include a few nonfiction books to provide historical and real-world context to the topic.
Summer learning should create excitement about discovering something new and peak an interest in a topic the family has been curious about. Make discussions casual and fun, no need for assessments or memorizing facts. Instead incorporate fun, hands-on activities, such as art, science, or music projects. Make some animal puppets out of old socks or paper bags for a unit on animals. Use NASA photos to make a collage of the planets in our solar system. Write a song or poem about an aspect of the topic of study. These are all fun, creative ways to reinforce learning. Curiosity can also be fostered by conducting an experiment. Testing hypotheses first-hand connects facts with real-world experiences and makes learning interesting!
Field trips are another special event that brings information learned from books or websites to life. To touch, hear, and experience information first-hand has a lasting effect. Sharing a visit to a local animal shelter, taking in a ball game, or going camping are experiences the family won’t forget. Finding performances, museums, or other places to visit for an exciting adventure related to the topic are just a search away on the internet. Many communities provide enriching experiences for all ages throughout the summer, sometimes for free. Try your local library, too, they often have programs and resources for families to explore all kinds of different topics.
The National Summer Learning Association posts events around the United States to help families find fun activities all summer long. Check them out and enjoy your summer learning!