- Have a Plan.
I am not suggesting a “signing your children up for every camp under the sun” kind of plan. I like sharing this story I once read with other parents.
Children don’t have to experience every sport or activity you want them to be exposed to in an organized activity in order to become good at it. If your child wants to try horseback riding, you can plan an outing with some friends to go with instead of signing him or her up for a 8-week lesson. If they want to learn to play soccer, try this in your own backyard for a few weekends before signing them up for a 10-week session. Some of the world’s greatest Olympians didn’t begin practicing their sport until they were teenagers!
I learned this wonderful advice in a book I highly recommend called The Power of a Positive Mom by Karol Ladd.
To start this plan, print out a calendar for the summer months and start filling it in with pre-planned events. Ask your child three things they want to learn over the summer and start this list next to the calendar or on a separate “summer bucket list”
- Plan to Read!
For children of all ages, reading needs to happen everyday. There are some really great reading challenges you can participate in over the summer to help your school-age children strengthen their literacy skills instead of lose them.
- Check out your local library to join their reading challenge.
- Participate in the Scholastic Reading Challenge from the comfort of your own home.
- Read and print an online program that fits your family needs. Here are two I found interesting.
- Find Free Fun at Local Parks.
Our plan this summer is to visit a different park each week. A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and she asked people who live near her to suggest parks they really liked. I have a list of 15 parks near my home that we can try out. Put the names of these parks on the Sunday of each week on your calendar. You won’t be able to plan the specific day of the week you plan to go because of weather, but you will know which park you will visit at some point.
- Purchase a Summer Learning Workbook.
As a teacher, I frowned upon all the workbooks the district would supply us with for our students. I wanted to give my students hands-on-learning opportunities every chance I could. However, as a parent, I think it is wise to grab a Summer Bridge Book (workbook). They are well thought out and organized according to skills children need to know according to standards. I like to get our workbooks from Costco. We set aside 15 minutes every morning, Monday – Friday for learning time. We sit at the kitchen table and I help my girls on their books.Some of you may be thinking, “Kids need a break in the summer!” This is true, but there is also research that points out that children have a “slide” backwards in skills when they are not consistently working on academics over the summer.
- Activities for “The Plan”.
Number one was to have a plan, but what do you put on that plan? Brainstorm all the fun things you can do over the summer that take you away from the house and all the things you can do in the house.
Out of the house:
- Visit a petting farm
- The zoo
- Have a picnic
- Go on a bike ride
- Visit a splash park
- Go on a nature walk
- More ideas
In the home:
- Art activities
- Random acts of kindness for others
- Write a letter to your teacher
- Bake something
- Make homemade bubbles
- More ideas
Summer is short, I hope this helps you make the most of it!
– Maria Dismondy, is a mother of three, reading specialist, fitness instructor and bestselling children’s author living in Southeast Michigan.