Published July 1, 2022
When you’re a kid, nothing’s more exciting than summer break. You get to play outside, have a blast with no responsibilities, and make memories that last a lifetime. But it’s also important to keep on learning. As the American Educational Research Journal explains, students can lose up to 34% of the prior year’s academic gains over the summer. So, here are a few fun ways to keep your kids mentally engaged during their summer break.
Play Educational Games
Educational games have come a long way in the last several years—many of them are so fun, kids won’t even realize they’re exercising their brains! They’ll have the time of their lives while they’re learning math, expanding their vocabulary, and exploring science. We’ve all told our kids learning can be fun. The summer is a great time to prove it. Click here for a few different ideas to get you started. And keep in mind, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Join a Book Club
A lot of people think of reading as something that you do alone. But our public library system has found a way to make reading fun, social, and interactive. They’ve created a summer book club where kids can earn prizes for reading. You can also take the family to live storytelling events. There’s even a dedicated “Library Night” at Victory Field, and if your kids log 10 reading hours, they can get an Indians ticket as a prize! It’s safe to say The Indianapolis Public Libraries have done a great job creating an active community around reading. Click here to learn more.
The weather is warm, the air feels nice, and everyone’s itching to be outside. Summer is a great time to go explore nature with your kids! As the American Psychological Association explains, “natural environments improve [your kids’] working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attention.” So get away from the screen, and find some time to embrace the great outdoors with your family. You can keep them engaged by identifying some of the local plant species along the way. Click here for info on Indy’s incredible parks system.
Visit the Indianapolis Children’s Museum
Did you know we have the largest children’s museum in the world…right here in Indy? A visit to The Children’s Museum is a great way to occupy a day and engage their young and curious minds. They’ll enjoy a hands-on dinosaur exhibit, learn from some of the visiting artists, and even get to solve a mystery at The Scooby Doo Exhibit. And keep in mind, the tickets are heavily discounted on the first Thursday of each month. Click here for more info.
Life has a ton of different lessons to teach. And not all of them are about math and science. Remember to teach your kids about kindness and generosity. What’s a cause that’s important to your family? Are you interested in giving back to the environment, shelter dogs, or your unhoused neighbors? This link can give you a few more ideas. The summer is a nice opportunity to lend a hand where it’s needed the most.
Watch a Documentary
Do you plan on doing a family movie night this summer? Encourage your kids to reach for a documentary. Movies can be a great teaching tool, especially for the more visual learners. “The Social Dilemma” might be a good one to start with because it warns your kids about the dangers of social media. Here’s a great list of more fun, age-appropriate documentaries to watch with the whole family.
Take Up an Educational Hobby
Hobbies can be a great way to stimulate your kids’ minds. And if you pick the right one, these hobbies can really set them up for the future. For example, cooking is a skill that will come in handy their entire lives. Chess can improve their problem-solving skills. And learning an instrument can improve their brain’s ability to process information. So, help your kids land on a hobby that sounds mentally nutritious, and they’ll have a blast while bettering themselves.
Ask Them to Pick Something They Want to Learn More About
Have a conversation with your kids about the things they like most about school and topics or activities they’ve become really interested in. Maybe it’s creative writing. Maybe it’s drawing. Or maybe it’s the animal life on the ocean’s floor. But whatever the case, they’re going to be way more invested in something they help choose. There’s an entire world out there that’s just waiting to be explored. Ask your kids what they’d like to learn about. And who knows, by the end of the summer, they might be an expert on the lost city of Atlantis.Tags: fun, Learning, Summer Break, summer learning