Can’t find time to read all of those parenting books and magazines? Don’t have a lot of mommy friends to bounce ideas off of? Kids go crazy every time you get on the phone to ask a friend their advice? No problem; I’ll do the work for you!
Every Thursday I bring you kid-tested parenting tips for a specific parenting challenge “from the mouths of moms.” We’ve already shared lots of tips for dealing with picky eaters, getting kids to sleep better, ensuring stress-free play dates, cooking with kids, potty training success, promoting sibling bonding, teaching good touch bad touch, taming toddler aggression, dealing with an overly emotional child, keeping kids safe while on the go, and teaching kids to clean up toys. Whew! Now here are direct quotes from a diverse group of moms (with kids of all ages and tons of ideas) on continuing learning throughout the summer. Meet your new mommy friends…
Alright, Mamas, how do you find opportunities for learning throughout the summer?
1. Practice Life Skills
“With toddler that will probably be starting pre-school, possibly in September, but for certain in January, a big focus for us this summer is listening skills. We always read a lot and are doing well with his numbers, letters, counting, etc., but are using this time to work on staying seated while eating and listening and following directions — summer outings are good ways to focus on the importance of listening and on engaging with our kids appropriately, both of which will be so important for pre-school.” Jennifer from The Good Long Road
2. Make Learning Hands On
“We try to provide lots of hands-on experiences, from playing with math manipulatives at home to visiting local farms, living history sites, and museums.” MaryAnne from Mama Smiles
3. Take A Road Trip
“Our children can recognize famous architecture, share the significance of historic sites, and know much about our country’s history—but, not from classroom lessons. We take inexpensive road trips across our country each summer, camping along the way, to visit National Parks, historical sites, museums, and places that each state is known best for.” Heather from wordplayhouse
4. Visit Local Museums
“We have been exploring museums, a science center, and gardens near our house. We talk about what we are seeing and look for books at library on things my son wants to know more about.” Deirdre from JDaniel4’s Mom
5. Check Local Shopping Centers
“Lots of larger shopping centres have school holiday programs with concerts and activities. It’s a fun, busy and exciting time full of new experiences!” Deborah from Learn with Play at Home
6. Follow Up Outings with Learning Activities
“Summer time for our family learning is focused on exploring new things! Hands on real life learning is the best no matter how old you are! We try to plan a few local outings in each week and then follow up with them at home through games, crafts, manipulatives, writing, cooking and most importantly BOOKS.” Kim from The Educators’ Spin On It (Check out Kim’s summer bucket list, too!)
7. Read, Read, READ!
“We have set a goal to read 1,000 books collectively this summer. All of us love to read, so this is exciting, not a chore. We even try to listen to some books as we drive to vacation destinations.” Danielle from Mommy and Me Book Club
8. Join a Summer Reading Program
“I sign the kids up for the reading challenges at the library … and this year we are also doing MeMe Tales Readathon and No Time For Flash Cards Summer Reading Challenge.” Laura from Play Dr. Mom
9. Encourage Everyday Reading & Writing
“Since my son just learned to read and write last year in Kindergarten, I really try to encourage him to practice these skills in our everyday summer life. Like reading the menu at the restaurant or signs when we are out and about. Or writing a letter to his dad or writing a story to go along with a page he just colored.” Krissy from B-Inspired Mama
10. Play Games
“We encourage learning by playing more board games in the Summer. There is so much learning that takes place while playing. Take Candyland for example. There is the opportunity to learn colors and numbers. Also to follow rules, take turns, and be a good sport!” Crystal from Growing a Jeweled Rose
11. Work On Specific Goals
“We keep up with similar preschool activities at home that the kids do during the school year and reading never stops in this house no matter the season. It’s also a good time to work on specific goals: for my son, we’re taking time to focus on numbers and letters and for my daughter, we’re concentrating on learning to read.” Chrissy from The Outlaw Mom
12. Homeschool Year Round
“We homeschool, and we choose to school year round. Currently we are doing about three light days a week. My oldest in in kindergarten, so we will keep it light for quite awhile. Year round gives us flexibility for vacations, sick days, and grumpy days.” Allison form Train Up A Child
13. Schedule In Down Time
“[We] schedule in plenty of down time. My school age kids often choose to write stories during this time, but mostly they just enjoy the time being together, playing pretend.” Danielle from Mommy and Me Book Club
14. Just Let It Come Naturally
“I don’t really do anything planned to promote summer learning. I think it comes so naturally for children in everything they do, that I don’t feel like I need to ‘create learning’ for our 5 year old. We do normal summer activities – play outside, water the garden, go to the playground, take a couple of holidays – and the learning just comes naturally. For example, yesterday at a beachside restaurant looking out at the sea, she asked how it is that the sand at the bottom of the ocean doesn’t just suck up all the water (like it does when she puts water in the sandbox). She’s constantly thinking and learning about everything that she sees and experiences. My job, I believe, is just to let her experience things – the learning comes naturally.” Jane from Mama Pea Pod
15. Enjoy Nature
“When they are outside, we’ll ask questions about what is happening around us so they remain connected to the wonders and mysteries around them. We’ll take walks with our journals and observe nature.” Shawn from Awesomely Awake
How do you find opportunities for learning throughout the summer? Do you prefer lots of free play or do you try to incorporate structured learning time?
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