5 Easy Ways To Keep Your Child Learning All Summer


5 Easy Ways To Keep Your Child Learning All SummerLooking back on my time as an elementary school teacher, one of the most difficult things at the beginning of the year — for both me and the parents — was dealing with the students’ typical loss of knowledge over the summer. It’s common and expected that as children are on “vacation mode” for two months, they demonstrate a backslide of sorts when it comes to learning.

Now, as a parent of a child who is about to start kindergarten, I’m already brainstorming ways to encourage fun, hands-on learning over the summer. My goal is for my son to view summer as a time to pursue his passions, find and grow his love for learning, and embrace his natural wonder by having authentic, hands-on learning opportunities presented to him as often as possible.

I know this seems like a tall order, and something that could easily be overwhelming for moms who have a thousand other things on their plate, but it doesn’t have to be! Today, I’m here to give you five easy things to do this summer to continue and encourage your child’s learning so the summer backslide can become a thing of the past:

1. Nature Study

Connecting children to the outdoors is one of the best ways to instantly grab their attention and pique curiosity. Kids have a natural inclination to observe and explore the world around them. Allowing them to do so can be beneficial for their learning and success in school. Thankfully for all busy moms, one doesn’t have to plan an elaborate, fancy curriculum to use for this. There are several amazing resources on the internet that have nature studies fully planned for kids of any age. Two of my favorites are by Treehouse Schoolhouse and Raising Little Shoots. Both of these resources are rich with enrichment activities like poetry, experiments, art and music appreciation, and fun crafts.

2. Field Trips

Field trips are not just for teachers! Taking a learning excursion is an amazing way to expose your children to new surroundings, people, and ideals. Our area boasts countless festivals full of all kinds of crafts, activities, and entertainment. There are also many farms in the area that offer family days to explore, learn, and play with farm animals. Hidden Hills Farm & Saddle Club in Ooltewah is our favorite! With a different theme each month, children learn something new with each visit. Other attractions such as the Aquarium, Creative Discovery Museum, and Chattanooga Zoo offer enriching activities and learning opportunities for students throughout the summer. Many of these areas also offer coupons and discounts frequently. Also, be sure to check with each attraction and your student’s school to see if there are any coupons available! For the budget friendly family, hiking through our numerous nature centers and parks is an excellent way to learn and explore! As an added bonus, most nature centers offer free “classes” during the week for children and families! Check your local park’s calendar and website for more information.

3. Local Libraries

Our community offers some amazing public libraries! At most libraries in the Chattanooga area, you can find an event calendar for the summer. Oftentimes, clubs, story time, and classes are offered for free. These are amazing opportunities for children to learn more about passions they already have or to learn something new. Additionally, all of the public schools in our area also offer free library memberships, which means your children can check out books of their choice and participate in other events at no cost to you!

4. Educational Apps

While this choice may not satisfy the outdoor element of keeping kids learning all summer, it definitely is an attention grabber for children of all ages. While it is advised that technology should be limited for adolescents, educational games can be beneficial in moderation. Some of our favorite learning apps are ABCmouse, Reading Eggs, Lexia, Teach My Monster to Read, Khan Academy, BrainPOP, and DuoLingo. Check with your child’s teacher and school system to ask about free programs to use during the summer. Another awesome resource are the local libraries whose sites offer free membership to learning programs when used inside the library!

5. Socialization Opportunities

Finding consistent opportunities for your child to be in social settings not only helps them use their knowledge daily in discussion with their peers, but it also helps give them a sense of structure similar to that in school. This helps so many students who struggle when returning to the daily routines of school from the relaxed setting of home on summer vacation. Our area offers many Mother’s Day Out programs that also have summer groups. There are also several summer camps throughout Chattanooga and surrounding areas. If you’re on a budget, many homeschool or mom-specific Facebook groups offer weekly co-op meetings or play dates.

Helping our students be successful doesn’t have to be intricate or elaborate. Taking a minute to research what our amazing community has to offer and being intentional about your summer can be extremely beneficial to your child’s learning and education.

Learning doesn’t have to stop when school stops. Encourage your child’s natural curiosity and foster their love for learning by becoming a lifelong learner with them this summer!