Summertime, while cherished by kids and teachers alike, does have its downsides. How do you make sure your children are filling their days productively? How do you manage your own time? How do you fight the “summer slide”—that much-documented phenomenon in which kids forget everything they learned during the school year?
Well, have no fear! We polled nannies and teachers for the fun activities that they like to do with kids in the summer to keep them engaged in the learning process. Read their suggestions below:
- Grow a garden! This is a great summer activity because not only does it get the kids outside and in the natural world, it also helps them develop skills in natural science, caretaking, responsibility, and healthy eating. Some of the best fruits and veggies to grow in a summer garden for kids are peas, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, cabbage, zucchini, cucumbers, and potatoes.
- Discover and create new recipes. This is especially fun at the end of the summer, when you can use the fruits and vegetables the kids have grown in their gardens. You can even make this a Chopped-style challenge, by giving each child a basket of ingredients that they must use when preparing their recipe.
- Read, read, read. For elementary-aged kids, reading is by far the most important skill to cultivate over the summer. Take advantage of rainy days by going to the library. You can always join your library’s book club—most local libraries have summer reading challenges and the like for elementary-schoolers—or create your own with books your family chooses. If your children do not enjoy reading, turning it into a game or challenge can make it more fun for them. You can also begin a “family reading time,” in which you either read silently together or take turns reading aloud to each other.
- Take day trips to museums. Look for local museums that specialize in a wide variety of subject matter. Most cities will have at least one science/technology, art, natural science/history, or children’s museum; many others have strange or unusual novelty museums as well. If the kids aren’t excited about spending a summer day learning, bring along a small scavenger hunt based on the current exhibits.
- Have the kids start a puppet (or live!) theater. Encourage them to write their own scripts and rehearse together. If it’s a puppet theater, help them craft finger puppets of the starring characters; if not, provide old clothes or Halloween costumes to make costumes for the show.
- Perform small science experiments. Have the kids write out a list of testable questions and hypotheses. For example, they could ask, “How long does it take for an ice cube to melt outside, in the sink, and in the refrigerator?” Write down their guesses, then test!
- Collect change in a jar, starting on the first day of summer. On the last day, have the kids estimate how much they’ve collected. Then, let them count it and plan a fun purchase with what they’ve saved.
- Write and draw a comic strip. Encourage your kids’ artistic sides by having them write and draw the comic strip for a superhero of their own design. This can be especially fun in the summertime, when superhero movies rule the box office.
Hiring a summer nanny is also great strategy for keeping kids learning all summer long—especially if the nanny has a background in teaching. Many summer nannies work as educators during the school year, so they can be a tremendous help in combating the summer slide. To find out what a summer nanny can do for you, contact us today, and be sure to check out our Pinterest for more fun summer activity ideas!