(Family Features) Summer is a time to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. While this change of pace should give families the opportunity to rest and relax, parents often worry that their young children will forget what they’ve learned in school by not exercising their minds enough over the break. It’s especially important to keep your little one’s brain stimulated every day, as their brains are constantly developing. Parents can do this by engaging their children in purposeful play that reinforces learning all summer long.
Parents should take advantage of more leisure time by using summer to explore nature and discover science with their children.
Dr. Gloria Julius, vice president of education and professional development for Primrose Schools, recommends the following common outdoor activities, which provide the perfect setting for firsthand lessons on physics, chemistry and biology in ways that small children can enjoy and understand.
- Swinging: Swinging back and forth allows children to experience Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As the swing comes to a stop, children realize they must push off the ground to set the swing back in motion.
- Sliding: Slides allow children to experience the effects of gravity and friction. Children realize they can slow down by pressing on the soles of their shoes, or lift their feet to go faster.
- Swimming: Children experiment with the scientific principle of buoyancy while learning to swim, asking questions like, “Why do I float sometimes and sink other times?”
Depending on the age of your child, it’s not always necessary to explain the science behind each activity – the experiences alone help children grasp science later on.
Since the weather doesn’t always cooperate, it’s important to ensure that time spent indoors is also optimized for learning. The following activities make for a fun and interactive afternoon without having to step foot outside:
- Snacktivities: Teach your child healthy habits by making simple snacks together. Fruit and cheese kabobs are fun to make and will help develop your child’s fine motor skills!
- Singing: Take turns singing the lines of a familiar song to build your child’s verbal memory and develop listening and concentration skills.
- Snuggling: Have your child pick out a book and snuggle up together to read it. The quality time together will also help foster literacy and vocabulary skills.
Summer programs with educational components are becoming increasingly popular. Programs that foster brain stimulation and continuous learning, such as the Primrose Summer Adventure Club, allow children to explore interesting topics through purposeful play that emphasizes engagement and discovery.
“Encouraging children to use their natural tendency to learn through summertime play and exploration gives them time to practice, internalize and apply what they learned during the more academic part of the year,” Dr. Julius said. “Investigating and exploring topics that interest them will help them develop into well-rounded learners.”
For more on summer learning, visit www.PrimroseSchools.com.