Friday, July 14, 2017

4 Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Learn During Summer

4 Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Learn During Summer


DISCLOSURE: I received the #CampSci kits courtesy of Monsanto and a free app download from Read With Fonics.  All opinions are 100% my own. I only feature products and services I believe in on my blog.

For 12 weeks in the Summer, Dylan, Lexie and Lily get a much deserved break from the stress of the school year. (Liam is not so lucky!) Even though the time off is needed, I want their minds to stay active. Allowing my kids to enjoy the magic of Summer is the most important thing, but I also think it's important to encourage kids to continue to learn during Summer Break!


Learning over Summer Break should be simple and stress-free! I don't force my kids to read for an hour each day or complete worksheets. As a parent, I learned that if something is forced it can quickly become something that kids begin to hate. Summer learning should be FUN, and it definitely shouldn't become a dreaded task!

I take a laid-back approach when it comes to educational activities over the Summer. Enjoying Summer activities ALWAYS comes first! I allow my kids to stay up later and sleep in. I encourage them to play outside as much as possible. I try to avoid scheduling learning activities, and instead do them when time permits. Because the issue isn't forced, my kids end up having fun while learning!


Here are the 4 fun ways I encourage MY kids to learn during Summer:


READING REWARDS


I am a book lover, so I obviously want my kids to love reading, too. During the school year, they have to read for a certain amount of time each night, and they also have to read books they don't always enjoy. Over the Summer, I encourage my kids to read what they like, to participate in the Summer Reading program at the library if they want to, and I don't force time limits upon them.

Instead, I use a rewards system. For every 4 chapter books that Dylan and Lexie read, they get to go to the bookstore and choose a new book. Lily gets to choose 1 new book for every 20 leveled reading books that she reads. Liam gets a new book once a month.

In order to receive their free books, they have to recite a brief synopsis of each book they finished, tell me their favorite part and why, and share how they can relate to the main character. Surprisingly, my kids choose to read quite often, and they are very enthusiastic when they describe the books! Reading should be a fun activity rather than a forced one!

Books For Kids

SCIENCE CAMP AT HOME


All of my kids love science, and performing science experiments is one of their favorite things to do! I'm a big fan of STEM activities, so I hardly ever say no to a requested experiment. Dylan, Lexie and Lily were so excited when Monsanto sent them a fun science kit, complete with a binder and aprons! (I was most impressed by the personalized box!) They couldn't wait to get started with #CampSci!

Science Experiments

Science Experiments

The first experiment was to create Edible Soil. Some of you saw my InstaStory last month, but the kids learned about soil, created the layers using different foods, and made Edible Soil Snacks. Afterwards, they drew a picture of the Edible Soil they created, and labeled the parts. It was fun...and tasty!

STEM activities

If you would like to recreate this experiment, you can watch the short video below!



My kids were even more excited when another box showed up on our doorstep! It arrived just in time for Pollinator Week. Their task was to create bee houses!

Bee House

Bee House

I already shared our first bee house, which we made during Pollinator Week, but this week we sat down to make two more bee houses for our backyard. Since we had already used half of the cardboard tubes they sent us, we had to roll our own tubes using construction paper.

STEM activities

Science Experiments

#CampSci Pollinator Week

#CampSci Pollinator Week Bee House

If you would like to make bee house for your backyard, check out the video below!


Dylan, Lexie, Lily (and occasionally Liam) are loving all the STEM fun thanks to Monsanto Science Camp Kits! 

FUN LEARNING APPS


Electronics are pretty much a staple in every home these days. Kids of all ages have them, and they can be great learning tools. The trick is to fill their devices with apps that are fun AND educational! The newest learning app that we discovered was Read With Fonics, and we LOVE it!

Apps for Kids

I mentioned this awesome app on my blog a few months back, and recently shared an InstaStory featuring it. It is a hit with Lily, and in a few months, I'm going to introduce Liam to this app, too. Lily loves it, and it has been so beneficial to her education. As a parent, I HIGHLY recommend it!

The Read With Fonics app, which was created by a teacher, is a fun game that teaches children how to read through the use of phonics. Kids build their skills by learning letter sounds while they play, and they have to pass each level in order to unlock the next.

Read With Fonics App

This app helped bridge the gap between Lily, who was one of the youngest in her class, and her older classmates. After just a few days of playing, she started to sound out words instead of simply memorizing them from her sight word list.

Learning Apps for Kids

Thanks to the Fonics app, Lily is continuing to build her reading skills over the Summer. She earns free time on her device by choosing an educational app to play first, and the Fonics app is her go to. She's a big fan of the adorable green alien, especially when he eats the words that aren't really words!

If there is one reading app that you download for your child, let it be this one! The app is available for download on apple, android and amazon devices. It's great for preschoolers, and kids in grade school who are just learning how to read. I credit the Read With Fonics app for helping Lily improve her reading skills!

Learning apps for kids

FLASH CARDS


Flash cards are such a fun and easy way to learn the basics and memorize facts! If you're looking for a wide variety, head to the Target Dollar Spot right now. We have over 30 sets of flash cards which are kept in our Busy Bags Binders, in the car, and in my purse, and most of them came from Target!

My kids love to use flash cards, so I often use them on the go to keep them busy. I pull them out while we are waiting at an appointment, driving in the car or waiting for food at a restaurant. The kids are so happy for a distraction that they aren't even aware that they are learning!

Lily has been using flash cards to learn sight words, which is helping with her reading, and addition flash cards to memorize facts. Sometimes I ask her if she would like to do them, but most of the time, she brings them to me! It's her favorite way to learn, and thanks to all the practice this Summer, she is going to be prepared for first grade in the Fall!

Flash cards are essential for Liam's learning and speech. (For those who aren't familiar with my family, Liam has Down syndrome. You can read about his birth diagnosis HERE.) We work with him every day at home, but we make sure to rotate the sets so he doesn't get bored.  He has a few fun sets of touch and feel flash cards, and they are one of his favorite toys. He will actually sit on the ground, look at each card and try to say what it is, all on his own!

To make learning with flash cards more fun, try playing the game I made up for Lily: Flash Card Slam! Just place all of the flash cards in the set on the table or ground, then call out a color/number/shape/letter/word/answer. Have your child "slam" the card with an inflatable hammer or the palm of their hand. It's a huge hit in my home!

learning activities

My kids are having a great Summer full of fun, and they are learning along the way! Their excitement over learning during Summer makes me an incredibly happy mom!


Four Fun Ways To Encourage Kids To Learn During Summer

What are your favorite activities to encourage your kids to learn during Summer?

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10 comments:

  1. The science camp looks amazing!! I bet the kids have had fun with that. I have so many flash cards. Ha ha! And I need to go to the dollar spot to look for more.

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  2. Science camp at home?!?! The homeschool mama inside me is jumping up and down over this. That is really, really cool!!!

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  3. I love the idea of having science camp at home!! And I'm certain it's a bit cheaper than what our local school charges. What fun ways to keep those minds sharp this Summer.

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  4. Love all of these ideas! Looks like so much fun!

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  5. These are SUCH amazing ideas!!

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  6. Such great ideas, thanks friend!

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  7. I'm all about keeping my kiddos learning during summer too! And oh my gosh, those science boxes look like so much fun! I'm going to have to check them out!

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