Five Educational Summer Activities for Elementary School Children
Summer is here, a time for children to recharge their batteries and enjoy a much-needed break from the busy school year. While every child deserves this, Ana Martinez of the Flower Mound Huntington Learning Center urges parents to offer a variety of educational activities to ensure their children retain everything they worked so hard to learn all school year. “Sadly, so many children toss aside the backpack on the last day of school and do not touch a book until the first day of the next school year,” says Martinez. “The problem with this is that students can easily lose several months of grade-level equivalency in math, reading and other subjects.”
Bottom line: it’s important that children keep those brains active throughout the summer. Here are five suggested activities that will help them do just that:
- State/city “field trips” – Have your child plan a few weekend excursions with the help of Google Maps. If you can take a family road trip, your child can help plan the agenda and map out the route, including drive time needed. If you’re leaning toward a few short staycations closer to home, however, you can still let your child research attractions and events at your local museums, pick out great hikes or camping spots in the area or plan a walking tour of your city (complete with his or her research, of course).
- Daily reading sessions – This is one of the easiest ways to help children keep up those essential literacy skills. Check out summer reading programs at the library or book store and make a weekly outing there to refresh the reading material. Consider reading book series as a family. Read together each evening and make it fun by serving up lemonade or hot chocolate. Huntington Learning Center offers a reading adventure program during the summer months, which encourages students to keep reading. Reading Adventure runs May to August and is open to currently enrolled students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Students choose books from Huntington’s pre-selected book lists, which offer a variety of high-interest choices by grade level and reading ability. Each student receives a reading “passport” in which to record books as completed and make a few notes of what he or she learned and enjoyed about each book.
- Journaling – Like reading, a daily writing habit will go a long way toward helping children minimize regression. If your child isn’t eager to write book summaries, a journal is an open-ended forum in which he or she can write anything from poems to stories to a daily log of summer activities. Start with ten minutes a day, and as the summer goes on, your child might grow to enjoy this practice and want to do it longer.
- Taking classes – Are there educational programs available over the summer in your community, such as science, technology, engineering and math camps, art classes, or robotics programs? Maybe your child wants to take up an instrument. Perhaps he or she is interested in a youth creative writing class. Your school or local library are good places to start for seeking suggestions. Huntington Learning Center offers tutoring for students during the summer months especially if the past school year was a challenge. Enrichment sessions are also available for students who enjoy academic adventures to develop new skills.
- Researching a hobby or other topic – The freedom of summer offers lots of opportunity for discovery. Encourage your child to check out an autobiography on a favorite athlete, rent a documentary on a topic that intrigues him or her, or look up answers online (with your guidance) to those burning questions he or she usually asks you.
Martinez adds that summer learning doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective. “Children who spend just a little time each day enjoying a book or exploring an interesting topic will reap great benefits and find that transitioning into the next grade is easier,” she says. For additional ideas on how to engage your child in effective but enjoyable summer learning activities, call Huntington Learning Center at 972-325-2233 or visit www.huntingtonhelps.com.
Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible.