By Sarah Emory, MSP, CCC-SLP
Summer Family Projects are wonderful to integrate learning into your children’s summer plans and prevent “summer slide” learning loss. It’s an opportunity to encourage learning and grow better relationships with your family at the same time.
Our home health professionals work with children in a variety of ways to keep young brains active throughout the summer. Here are three creative ways from their expert playbook that you can use keep your children engaged in learning for the summer:
Plant a garden
It is the perfect time to teach the kids about planning, planting, and tending a garden. Since we live in South Carolina, we have already planted flowers and blueberries to garden this summer.
Even in many urban areas, there are designated areas for individuals to plant, such as the Northside Community Garden on Howard Street. We will use them for random acts of kindness throughout the summer.
Whether you live in a city, the suburbs, or in a more rural area, your kids can research local museums, zoos, botanical gardens and any other cool stuff that your area offers.
Make this deal with your children – not only must they research where to go, but they also must keep a journal when they visit. In it, they should write down what they have seen and learned.
They can also snap photos/selfies and even make a scrapbook/chatbook about their adventure.
Let the kids research a new artist or find a special animal in the zoo. If you have multiple children, have each child pick a different topic to share with each other.
You will subtly be sharpening lots of skills, including; research, reading, organizational, oral and written presentational, etc.
Share a skill or learn a new skill
Your child may love to draw, paint, play an instrument, or kick a soccer ball past any goalie. They can give lessons to the local kids who want to learn some of these skills. Or, you may have a sand-and-water table and your neighbor may have a bounce house.
Take turns planning a “learning-themed” play date. Maybe the neighbor’s kid knows how to play lacrosse and your child has never even held a lacrosse stick. Now is a perfect time to exchange talents and resources.
The summer is also a perfect time to catch your children up on learning in which they may have been lacking. It is not the time to bury your head in the sand and pretend that this will be dealt with next school year.
Summer speech and language therapy, math tutoring, and academic summer camps are great ways to prepare for the upcoming school year.
Enjoy your summer and fill it with learning that is fun and family-centered!
Share your anti-summer slide pictures with us and you could win! Do any of these things you just read about, snap a picture and post it on social media. Use the hashtag #FightTheSlide during the month of June. You could win a great summer giveaway prize! To be eligible, you have to follow us on either Facebook or Instagram.
Sarah Emory, MSP, CCC-SLP, is owner and founder of McCulloh Therapeutic Solutions, a full-service speech therapy provider with home health and in-school services. Visit www.mtskids.com to learn more.