Summertime: fun, relaxing, less-scheduled. During the summer months, learning can take a backseat. Keep your child’s mind in motion, learning in different ways. Review what they’ve learned this past year in school, add to the lessons, and introduce children to new concepts, activities, and adventures.
Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Kid’s Mind in Motion this Summer
1. READ Top 10 Tips to Keep Kids’ Minds in Motion this Summer
• Read as much as you can as often as you can with your children. Cereal boxes, comic books, chapter books, road signs, maps, anything with words. Try to stay away from electronic books with younger children to limit screen time. Spend time is God’s Word this summer too.
• Spend time at the library. Kids can have their own library cards to check out books. Keep the books in a special bag, away from pets and younger siblings.
• When reading, find words your children can identify. Follow along with your finger as you read to encourage left-to-right motion.
• Look for words your children know when you’re out and about (STOP, the name of common stores, etc.).
• Help your children identify letters and the sounds of each letter.
• Read aloud with your older children, alternating chapters.
• Start a parent-child book club.
• Download the Book Bingo Board from 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting for summer reading fun and encouragement.
2. WRITE Top 10 Tips to Keep Kids’ Minds in Motion this Summer
• Allow young children to write on a variety of surfaces with many writing utensils. For example, chalk on the sidewalk, crayons on construction paper, a stick in the sand at the beach, markers on grocery store bags, pencils on notebook paper, or fingers in pudding in a jellyroll pan.
• Print letters, numbers, and symbols.
• Have your child dictate a story. Write it down and allow the child to illustrate the book.
• Have older children keep a journal.
• Write letters, thank you notes, and postcards. Grandparents LOVE getting mail from the grands!
3. PLAY Top 10 Tips to Keep Kids’ Minds in Motion this Summer
• Play is a child’s occupation, so get them working exploring their world.
• Allow for both unstructured and structured playtime. For those kids who claim to be bored with the lack of structure, encourage them to initiate their own activities of you can help them find something to do, a chore. Click HERE for ideas.
• Play fuels creativity and sometimes get messy. Move the messier activities outdoors.
• Encourage children to invent their own games.
• Join kids of all ages in their games to help them grow socially, cognitively, and emotionally.
• Plan a weekly game night in the backyard for your family. Have a board game for a rainy night backup plan.
4. EXPLORE Top 10 Tips to Keep Kids’ Minds in Motion this Summer
• From the backyard to the park to the nature center, explore with your children.
• With younger children, pack a small bag with a magnifying glass, binoculars made from toilet paper tubes and yarn, a notepad, and a pencil. Make rubbings of tree bark. Watch birds. Look for animal tracks. Collect fallen leaves to make a collage at home. Take notes on your outings.
• Plan a trip, a local adventure or a big excursion. Get the kids involved in the planning sessions. Look online for ideas, pick up travel brochures and maps. Click HERE for family road trip ideas.
• Try something new: sailing, fishing, rock climbing, whitewater rafting.
• Make a pirate ship or castle with pillows and sofa cushions. Drape a blanket over a card table to create a fort. Build a city with Legos or blocks.
• Wash out milk cartons, tape down the triangular top with duct tape for homemade jumbo building blocks.
• A refrigerator box can be a COOL fort. Assist in cutting out windows and a door. Let the kids decorate the fort/playhouse.
• Building a backyard treehouse or playhouse is a great way to encourage creativity, learn how to use various tools, and put math skills into play. Supervision is necessary…and FUN!
• Put together an art bin in a shoe box with paper towel tubes, string, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, glue, cardboard, thread spools, paper clips, and paper. Add any items you come across that would be interesting. It’s a junk box to make treasures from trash.
• With older children, make stepping stones with plaster or concrete mix. Add rocks, plastic jewels, and other treasures. Handprints with the kid’s name are a great keepsake too.
• Make a fairy or gnome garden in the backyard.
• On sunny and rainy days make movement (exercise) part of the routine. Dance, bicycle, run, skip, walk, tiptoe, or hop! Any kind of movement is good.
• Play games together. Have your children teach you games they learned in gym class this year.
• Bike together. Plan biking trips for the whole family.
• Few things make a person feel better than a belly laugh. Take time to be silly!
• Have a comic contest to find the funniest comic to share with the family. Put the comics on a bulletin board.
• Snap funny selfies and text the photos to one another.
• Too few of us, adults and children, are getting enough sleep these days. Be intentional with bedtime and the routine getting ready for bed. Try to keep the same schedule throughout the summer months.
• Have a designated curfew for older kids. Base the rule on respect. No one wants to be up, waiting for a child to return late into the night.
• Show love in words and actions. This includes helping one another with chores, cheering each other on in sports, and working together as a family on projects.
• Serve at church or in the community to help others.
• Love is a decision! Say, “I love you” daily.
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott
Mom of two college boys
Licensed Parent & Family Educator
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting
Co-author of three parenting books
Contact Becky for your next parent/family event.
Pick up a copy of Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love for more parenting strategies at the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Store.