Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer learning ideas for kids

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.”
Chinese Proverb

A break from school doesn't have to mean a break from learning. There are plenty of ways for your kids to have fun this summer, while expanding their knowledge at the same time. Prevent summer brain drain with these everyday ways to learn, while having fun! Shhh … don't tell them it's educational!

1.) A lemonade stand is the quintessential summertime activity for kids, and math is needed to keep it up and running! Younger kids can work on their measuring and money-counting by mixing the lemonade and making change for customers. Older kids can be in charge of setting the price by determining the cost per serving and setting a profit margin. By using these math skills, your kids will have a successful business serving thirsty consumers all summer long!

2.) If you've got a little sous chef on your hands, there is no better place than the kitchen to turn cooking and baking into a math lesson. Give your younger child tasks like sorting your ingredients or counting how many eggs you need for a certain recipe. Your older kids can work on number recognition and fractions by helping to measure ingredients, turning the oven to the correct temperature (with adult supervision), and dividing up the servings. After you've finished your cooking, you'll have a tasty little reward to enjoy together.

3.) Math problems abound at the mall, and many stores have summertime sales. The next time your teen's favorite store is having a sale, take her shopping. Ask her how much she will be saving on a certain sale item. For example, if a $25 item is 20 percent off, how much does it cost? You can mix and match different prices and discounts, add several sale items together, and even have your teen create an outfit with a pre-set budget. She might be surprised to see how much percentages, fractions, and decimals play into one of her favorite pastimes!

4.) The next time you take your child with you while you run errands, turn it into a learning activity. Calculating time and mileage is a fun way for your child to pass the time in the car. For example, if the grocery store is three miles away, how long does he think it will take you to get there? If you have several errands to run, ask you child how far away he thinks each destination is from the other, and then clock it to see how close his guess is. Another fun car game is to use the numbers on license plates as an addition and subtraction lesson. Ask your child to add or subtract all the numbers he sees on the license plates you pass. Not only will he be learning math while you get your errands done, keeping him occupied will help keep any car meltdowns at bay, too.

5.) If your child loves being a little carpenter, it's easy to turn his next summertime project into a math lesson. Whether you are building a tree house, a bird house, or simply have some extra wood and nails to play around with, break out the tape measure and let your child go to town. Your child can help figure out square footage, measure angles, and determine how much wood is needed to cover a certain area. Older kids can help measure and cut wood to fit in a certain spot. He won't even know he's working on his algebra and geometry skills.

6.) Take a walk around your neighborhood or local park, and look for different shapes and patterns in nature. For example, how far apart are the telephones from each other in your neighborhood? Are they all the same distance, or do they vary? Is there a pattern? This lesson can also be done with trees, fire hydrants, or even flowers in a garden. Ask your child to point out all the patterns he sees, and point out the ones you see, as well. Additionally, take note of all the shapes that can be found in nature. Ask your child to find a living thing that is a square, rectangle, or circle. With so much to see and find, he'll never know you're working on his geometry skills!

Print out this contract by Family Education to get your child interested in a summer learning program. Help him reach his summer learning goals and get prepared for the next school year. Click here for Summer Learning contract.

Use this printable sheet to record the creative and innovative ways in which your child wishes to learn new skills over the course of the summer. Click here for skills sheet.

1 comment:

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