Every child looks forward to summer vacation. Summertime offers kids the chance to take a break from their normal school-year routine and have fun with family and friends. While it’s important to allow children to rest, they will benefit from establishing a daily routine they can look forward to that incorporates educational activities. That way, they can remain prepared for the upcoming school year and stay active during their vacation.
Here are some creative ways parents can help their kids have a school-life balance on summer vacation.
How to Help Kids Stay Learning Over Summer Break
1. Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine
During the summer, it’s tempting for kids to stay up late and then sleep in, but maintaining a consistent bedtime schedule will help them get the sleep their bodies need for cognitive development, mood stabilization, and better physical health. Sleep experts recommend young children (ages 5 to 12) receive 9 to 12 hours of sleep every night. Whenever possible, parents should ensure their child goes to sleep and wakes up at the same time every day so they feel well-rested.
2. Discourage Spending Time in Bed
Additionally, parents can set children up for success by limiting the amount of time kids spend in bed. Separating daily activities from the bedroom helps our brains associate beds with sleeping at night. Also, lighting plays a significant role in energy, mental health, and productivity levels, so spending significant time in a darker environment can negatively impact your child’s mental and emotional health. It may also make it more difficult for kids to fall asleep later, creating a cycle of poor sleep habits.
If they do need to rest and nap, aim for 20-30 minutes maximum to make certain they can still fall asleep at their normal bedtime.
3. Get Outside
Research shows spending time outdoors contributes to cognitive development, reduces emotional stress, enhances sensory skills, and increases focus. Getting outside and engaging in regular physical activity also helps them stay in better physical health, which in turn boosts energy levels and their mood.
Fun activities to encourage time spent outside include:
- Going on a picnic
- Playing in the pool, lake, ocean
- Identifying plants and animals in your yard or nearby park
- Playing sports
- Reading outside
- Drawing with chalk
- Plant in the garden
4. Read Together
Make a goal to read together as a family for at least 30 minutes every day. If that’s not an option, consider signing them up for summer reading programs at a local library, bookstore, or their school, where they will most likely earn rewards for reaching reading milestones. Another idea to make it more exciting is to choose a theme for each week or to engage in a project associated with the book. For example, you can help them make a meal or artwork that references the book once they’ve completed reading it.
5. Practice Writing
Help your children hone their writing skills to improve their understanding of grammar, syntax, and spelling rules. Fun ways include encouraging them to keep a journal, write letters to family and friends, or writing jokes or poems. Another great way to inspire them to write and generate creative ideas is to research age-appropriate writing prompts. They can then enjoy brainstorming unique responses and share them with the family.
Pro Tip: Bring in color. Get markers, colored pencils, glitter, glue, and other crafts to make the writing project an artistic endeavor and show them learning can be fun.
6. Brush Up on Prior Assignments
Parents can help their children combat summer learning loss by reviewing the previous school year’s assignments. Practicing math and reading concepts in particular will help your child feel more prepared for the upcoming year.
7. Take Family Field Trips
Research fun, educational things to do in your local area or within a short drive’s distance. Some people are visual learners, so it can be illuminating for children to see actual historical sites, buildings, artifacts, flora, animals, or otherwise, depending on the subject. Schedule trips to museums, local historical sites, farms, botanical gardens, state and national parks, or other nearby natural areas like a lake or beach to learn more about topics in person.
Parents can create an itinerary with their kids, and obtain reading materials from their local library to have references during the trip.
8. Sign Up for Summer Camps
Summer day camps and overnight camps are a great opportunity for kids to learn and develop important social-emotional skills by interacting with their peers in a safe, fun environment. Themed camps can also introduce children to a variety of subjects they may not otherwise have time to explore during the school year. From performing arts to environmental science, the possibilities are endless.
If you’re searching for a high-quality daycare near Philadelphia, turn to Ducklings Early Learning Center. Children can look forward to fun, themed enrichment activities, plentiful outdoor playtime, and socialization with their peers. Our well-trained teachers encourage children to explore the world around them with a focus on mind, body, heart, and family. Families can feel confident that students are engaged in an age-appropriate daycare curriculum in a safe, compassionate environment.
For more information on specific childcare center locations, visit our Locations page or get in touch with our office.