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Summer Smarts

Summer Smarts:

 Seven Ways to Make Summer Less Boring and More

Meaningful for Our Kids

 

Twelve weeks.  Twelve weeks of glorious freedom!  Twelve weeks of no school!  Yippee!!  Then it hits me.  Twelve weeks.  Twelve weeks of no structure. Twelve weeks of “What can I do?”  and “I’m bored” and “Can I play my video games?” As a mom of three, I foresee trouble.  The first few weeks of summer are delightful, but I know all too well that 12 weeks of 24-7 freedom is too much freedom.  Here are my ideas to redirect my kids into a little learning during the summertime.

 

1.  Make the Most of Travel Time

Time in the car is a perfect way to sneak in some education!

  • Learning songs. (Here is a fun example: Ditty Bugs.)
  • Audio books from your local library. (The list is endless – our local library has a wonderful selection.)  You can also try an app-based approach and use Audible.com.  My young kids loved Homer Price and Pippi Longstocking.
  • An audio Bible. (The Jesus Storybook Bible, The Action Bible, or a full Bible recording.)

 

2.  Family Reading Time

  • Try a half-hour quiet-family-reading time daily (everyone with their own book).  Kids read when their parents read. Good books for all reading levels can be found here.
  • Read aloud to your kids! Did you know that children can understand books 2-4 years above their own reading level?  Some of my all-time favorite read alouds: Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates, Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil, and PollyAnna by Eleanor H. Porter (and you simply must use a persnickety voice for Aunt Polly).
  • Kids who read over the summer come back to school significantly ahead of their peers who do not (read this article).

 

3.  Time with Tech

  • Learning to type can be a great way for kids to use technology for fun learning.  Our family has used these programs: Dancemat Typing, Mavis Beacon, and Typing Instructor for Kids.  Don’t be discouraged if they are very slow at first.  Their speed will eventually increase and they’ll benefit so much from learning while young.
  • Learn with websites and apps.  When it’s just too hot to be outside, and you want them to remember their times tables and Latin vocabulary, redeem the time with technology!  Some that we like are: Quizlet, Stack the States, Stack the Countries, chess, and Tower Math.

 

4.  Family Field Trips (Also known as family vacations!)

Traveling is a wonderful way to learn.  Choose a historical site to visit while on vacation.  Summer learning is not rocket science! (Or maybe it is; how about going to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL? They have a special robot exhibit all summer.)

 

5.  Hit “Restart” on Your Spiritual Life

  • Start a new devotional book together, like Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
  • Use the more relaxed pace of summer to teach your kids to have individual time in God’s word. 
  • Memorize scripture together as a family. Nothing is more valuable and worthy of our time than hiding God’s word in our hearts! Gather up those good intentions and make them a reality.

 

6.  Teach Your Kids to Cook

Cooking offers reading, measuring, reasoning, tasting, and togetherness.  What more could you ask for? Pick out cookbooks together and go for it!

 

7.  Old-Fashioned Play

Occasionally I will announce to my children a “No Screen Day” – no TV, no apps, no video games, no computer.  It will seem like torture.  You will hear moans and groans and protests.  Hold firm.  After the initial complain-fest, you will observe a most wonderful phenomenon.  The children will find something to do!  Magic.

 

The summer is a great time to learn with our kids!  Having more time together is such a blessing, especially when it comes to spiritually nurturing our children.  Let’s teach them God’s ways this summer as we ride in the car, walk on the beach, or hike through the mountains.  After all, teaching is our calling as parents of these precious souls!

 

Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (ESV)

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