With the summer months quickly approaching, I am often asked by parents, “How can I keep my child engaged over the summer?” My answer always starts with keep a routine. Kids thrive on schedules and routines. Now that doesn’t mean set the timer and blow the whistle to switch activities. Set a loose schedule that works for your family and vary the activities you do.
The activities do not always have to be parent guided. Make a game of it and put a bunch of ideas in a bucket and pick one! Some activities I enjoy doing with my own daughter are reading together then creating a piece of art that goes with the story. We go on nature walks and take pictures of what we find and then later we go to google to research what we discovered. We write to friends over the summer and ask that they write us back. I mean what kid doesn’t love getting mail just for them? There are so many different things you can do with math while grocery shopping; weighing, counting, reading/writing the list, etc. I could go on and on with ideas. The point is to make it fun and change up what you do so your child wants to participate. It’s important for kids to engage in fun educational activities so they can retain important skills learned during the academic year and to prepare for the year ahead. With that being said the next thing I tell parents and I really stress this part, is to let your kids play. It is so important for their character growth and creativity to just have free play. Children that are given opportunities to have activities that are not parent guided can strengthen social bonds with siblings/friends/neighbors/peers, develop cognitive skills, and build emotional maturity. The value of independent discovery is priceless. Give your kids time to daydream and take risks. As a child I was told to stay in the neighborhood and be home by dinner time. Now a days we keep our kids closer and under a little more watchful care, but send your children to play outside. Remember when we were kids we didn’t have all these electronics/video games and we played outside? We built life long memories and value the freedom that we were given to use our imaginations. Fostering creativity and imagination along with the ideas and routines suggested above will help keep your child engaged while retaining and using the skills they acquired during the academic year. An engaged child is one that will embrace new ideas and concepts making the transition to the next grade level more successful.
Amanda Duffy attended and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in elementary education and a minor in psychology. She began teaching fifth graders in New Hanover County and continued in that grade level when she moved to Alpharetta, GA. She began teaching at O'Neal in 2008 as a second grade teacher. Since then she has taught first grade and is currently teaching kindergarten.
The O'Neal School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.