by KellyAnn Bonnell, MA
For many school districts there are only a few more days of school before summer vacation begins. Educators are frantically putting together summer homework packets to help prevent summer learning loss and parents are scouring community resources to find ways to keep their kids active and support summer learning. Here are five simple tricks you can use that will engage kids and keep them learning during the summer months.
1. The Learning Mash-up – You’ve heard of the music mash-up where to songs that don’t seem like they could possibly complement one another are put together creating something new, amazing and beautiful. Create a learning mash-up by tying unrelated summer activities together with a singular theme. For example, The Lego Movie and the Da Vinci exhibit at the Art museum using Vitruvious to tie them together. Or a visit to the Cactus League Experience and a Road Trip to the Miami Arizona Cultural Center using Rose Mofford exhibits as the unifying theme. What about watching the Goonies and then hunting for treasure at Kartchner Caverns? It takes just a little bit of creativity to create excitement.
2. The Writing Challenge – Game based story telling has been around for a very long time. Fantasy authors Tracy Hickman and Margatet Weis began their careers telling the stories of the game characters. Turn an obsession for the hottest video game into a writing challenge in which they have to write the story of their video game character’s journey while in the game. Or let the kids use put their favorite television characters into new settings writing fan fiction.
3. The Great Summer Quest – The summer quest is a life skills learning experience coupled with a scavenger hunt. Children can be given simple clues to discover new destinations to visit that are of historical significance.
4. Summer Small Business – allow the junior entrepreneur to thrive during the summer months. Help them learn valuable skills about starting and operating a business by visiting local small businesses, allowing them to come up with business ideas and develop business and marketing plans.
5. Problem Solvers -Have the kids identify a problem in their community and come up with a way to address it. They’ll use many of the academics they’ve learned when doing problem based learning.