It’s hard to believe that 4th of July has passed and we are nearing the half-way mark of summer. In just a few weeks, parents and children will begin the “back to school” preparations; buying clothes, rushing to read books assigned for summer reading and buying backpacks, lunch boxes and other school supplies. Besides these normal back to school activities, you can help your children by exercising their minds and preparing for next year’s lessons. It doesn’t have to be all work though, many fun activities can engage your child’s mind and creativity.
Have your child create a poster of the summer. Because there are still many weeks left of summer, have your child leave space to add to the poster. Include trinkets from trips, tickets to events, museums or amusement parks. Visit a local craft store to add some flair to the poster. Your child will not only get their creative juices flowing, they will have a wonderful way to remember fun times with their family and friends.
Bring out the books. If your child has taken a break from reading, it’s time to start again. Visit the library to find some books that fit your child’s interest. Summertime is a great time to let them explore different types of books and to read based on their interests rather than books or stories chosen by a teacher. Set aside 15 minutes a day for everyone to quietly read – even young children can sit quietly for a few minutes looking at books. Make sure to include time when you read together. You might also want to have parents or older children read a longer story – reading a chapter a night - out loud so the entire family can share in the story and talk about it after.
Plan out a homework space. If you don’t already have a set area in your house for your children to do homework, now is a great time. Your children can help with design, planning and set-up. Have them create a list of supplies but be sure to keep it simple and free of distractions.
Plan before you shop for clothes. When you have growing children, new school clothes are a must, but before you head off to the store, take stock of what clothes each child has. Summer is a great time to empty the dresser drawers and the closet; try on clothes to see what fits and what can be donated or passed down to a younger child. Make a game of it, having each child give a fashion show and then make a list of what clothes each child has and what clothes they will need.
Plan some fun but educational activities. Plan trips to museums, aquariums, zoos or historical areas to help the mind-fuzziness of summer clear out. Discuss the trip and have each child look up something about what you will see. For example, if you are going to the zoo, each child can look up information on a specific animal and be ready to share some facts when you see that animal.
Add math to everyday activities. Math is all around us – make sure to ask your children to help with the math when you go shopping, bake, cook or even go out for ice cream. Keep minds sharp by having them help figure out different math problems as you do fun activities.