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Keeping Your Kids in a Learning Environment over the Summer

Posted on Jun 07, 2021

Learning is all around us. Parents are encouraged to find different ways to keep the brain working over the summer school break. On this week’s On Call for All Kids, Kayla Megonegal, a teacher in the Patient Academic Services program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, gives parents some helpful tips to keep their children stimulated. Igniting their curiosity is a great way to keep their brains sharp.

How can you incorporate math and science into your summer activities?

A few ways you can incorporate math and science into your summer activities is by giving your child a budget when you go to the grocery store. This will help them not only learn how to work with numbers but is also a great life skill.

Another fun activity you can do with your kids is while you are driving, have them look at different license plates and add/subtract/multiply/divide the numbers and see what they come up with. Hands-on activities and at home experiments are also fun for everyone. For littler ones, sink or float is a fun way to get them outside and playing with water. You can also make things like “elephant toothpaste” or slime with every day household items that are safe. Kids get to watch the chemical reactions occurring, and it leads to great discussions as far as “what went well” or “what would you do differently next time?”

Lastly, one of our favorite things about the summertime is watching the temperature change and the afternoon storms roll in. Caregivers can encourage their kids to keep a log of the different weather and write about their observations at the end of the week.

How can you motivate your child to read over the summer?

We know that everyone dreads the famous summer reading. One way to make it more fun is by working with other parents to create weekly book clubs for the kids to help them not only stay accountable with their reading but also by having constructive conversations with friends to help them retain what they have read. Local libraries also provide many wonderful events like virtual read-a-louds with guest speakers. 

What other tips and tricks would you recommend to parents to keep their kids learning over the summer?

We would encourage parents to ask open-ended questions instead of yes/no so it can lead to those richer discussions while driving or at the dinner table.

Parents should not be afraid of technology. If we have seen anything from this past year it is that technology really can be put to great use – districts offer lots of great online resources that can be used all year round. They can also use the phone’s search engine to answer questions they might be wondering about while they are out exploring.

Take time to have fun with your kids. Read their summer reading books, use chalk on the sidewalk to make a giant game puzzle that incorporates sight words or math problems, make paper airplanes and record how far they fly.

What resources are available to families?

On Call for All Kids is a weekly series featuring Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital experts. Visit each Monday for the latest report.

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