With warmer temperatures and summer approaching, it is good to keep in mind the importance of “creative learning opportunities”. A child’s brain often needs a healthy break from the “work” feeling of memorizing, calculating, writing, and spelling. Summer offers many open-ended learning opportunities to diversify learning experiences into less pressured, explorative learning opportunities, fostering a unique “joy” and balance of learning.
Many summer activities lend themselves to diverse learning experiences with just a little tweaking here and there. Playground trips with treasure maps and picnic baskets. Garage sales with your child’s baked goodies on display with a cash box, or you and your child become the shopper…provide cash and coin-filled children’s wallets for purchasing garage-sale items while practicing manners and asking questions. Have your child organize and plan a carryout order by calling your local restaurant. Another fun opportunity is everyday grocery shopping trips with the twist of planning and organizing ingredients for a child-planned meal. These fun examples encourage carryover and development of cognitive and language skills with simple touches to stimulate complex application skills such as generalization, planning, and organization.
Another great language-learning tidbit is all children learn better within a connected theme. A child’s constantly developing and learning brain loves and often seeks the cozy, organized feeling of a good theme which easily presents itself in regular summer family activities! Listed below is another example…
“Go Fish!” What a great way to learn. Take your child out to a pond or local lake and cast multiple opportunities for learning. Tweak simple steps to bring your child into all aspects of the outing. Ask them to find a pond/lake with a map or use Google maps. Empower them by asking them to provide directions using roads and/or landmarks. Grab a compass and build awareness of directionality. Compasses are lots of fun! How do they work anyway? Boom…a short fun-fact science lesson via Google. Continue preparation for your outing by encouraging your child to research native fish on the Missouri Conservation Website or grab a fish book from your local library. Everyone loves a good fish story! Don’t forget to work together filling and organizing that tackle box with appropriate lures. Problem-solve beforehand, discussing what to do if your line breaks or if you have a difficult hook to remove. Is your tackle box up to the challenge? Grab your fishing poles and off you go…catch a big one!