According to research compiled by the National Summer Learning Association, children can lose about 2 months of math skills over the summer. There are gaps in reading over summer break as well, but sadly, low-income children lose far more skills than middle class children. Why do they believe there is a gap between the socioeconomic classes? Access to summer learning programs (visit their site HERE.) But it doesn’t have to be this way. By creating your own DIY Summer Camp, you have already shown a concern for your children’s physical and educational needs. And Thinking Thursday is one way to bridge that Summer Vacation gap. I’ve listed a few of our ideas for the summer, but as always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Make Paper Airplanes – Teach your kids how to use a search engine (like Google or Bing) and have them search (with your supervision) for folding plans for different paper airplanes. Not only will this help with fine motor skills, but also with following directions.
Scavenger Hunt – Who doesn’t love a good search? Make up a list of items and let your children search for them in your backyard or a nearby park. Such a simple idea, but so entertaining…for children of all ages! You can download our Scavenger Hunt List for an instant activity.
Make a Treasure Map – Maps aren’t just for pirates, you know! Whether in your own yard or at a local playground, help each child hide a “treasure” and then make a treasure map to find it. Kids can trade maps and hunt for each other’s treasure.
Make Rock Candy – I remember doing this in school when I was younger and I don’t think there was ever a science experiment I enjoyed cleaning up after more! It takes a few days, so the big lesson from this experiment may be patience! You can find directions HERE.
Make Bouncy Balls – Seriously? Make your own bouncy balls? We haven’t tried this one yet, but you had better believe that it is DEFINITELY on the top of our to do list!
Make a Bird Feeder – Because who doesn’t love to watch birds?
Visit a Nature Preserve – For Mar, our local nature preserve, offers a TON of free and really cheap events throughout the summer, and lucky for us, many of them are on Tuesdays! Some of the events we plan to participate in for Thinking Thursday include:
- Acting Out with the Flint Youth Theater – June 20th and August 15th
- Truck Farm activities (available every Thursday,) including So Happy Together, The Five Senses Garden, and A Flutter Garden.
- For Mar also offers activities “On The Road” like their Rainforest Adventures at Bluebell Beach on August 29th. (If you are a local reader, you really should pick up a copy of the Family Fun Guide (or request one HERE.) Many of these activities I am mentioning are offered throughout the county at different locations and on different days. You could keep your kids seriously busy just with Genesee County Parks activities…all for free or really cheap!
These are just a few that I came up with. If you have any ideas (and I know you do!) please share them in the comments section. I would really love some more ideas! Plus, follow me on Pinterest on the link at the top of this page and see all the great learning activities I am finding!