Time at home can be productive for the whole family.
Keep days fun, organized and not so lazy. With school out and many parents still working from home, this summer will be a challenge to ensure kids make the most of their days. But a little preparation can make this time more productive, educational and enjoyable for the whole family.
As parents know, it’s important to keep children busy in order to keep them out of trouble. It’s even more important when it comes to getting any kind of work done on your end, whether conducting a business meeting via videoconference or studying for your next exam. You’ll need time so you can focus.
For this reason, creating a summertime schedule complete with learning, exercise and creativity is a smart, preemptive move that will keep the household sailing on calm (and sane) waters.
Here are some tips from Dr. Pam Roggeman, dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix, on structuring the days to keep your kids going strong.
Keep kids learning
Regardless of their age or the season, devote time during the day to learning. In addition to what their teachers may require, several inspiring online resources and other great ideas are available to make learning fun.
Discover new educational apps: Many education companies are offering free online access for schoolchildren during COVID-19 stay-home mandates. Look for apps that have activities, lessons and assignments in a variety of content areas applicable to your child’s age group. Some apps and activities are interactive, while others provide parents with daily lesson plans.
Turn story time into a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) unit: Use a book as a jumping-off point for play. For example, read “The Three Little Pigs,” then challenge your child to design a house that could withstand the Big Bad Wolf. For older kids, empower them to connect their reading with the real world by encouraging them to take the lead in creating a project that interests them.
Stay on top of writing skills: Encourage children of all ages to keep a daily journal. Young children can draw pictures. Older children can document their summer experiences, which may provide topics for future school writing assignments.
Keep kids active
Kids get squirmy when they can’t get their wiggles out. They need a healthy dose of exercise and stretching. And don’t forget the fresh air and sunshine!
Dr. Roggeman advises:
Take a break from “sitting time”: Get kids get up and moving! Turn on the tunes and get the kids dancing or organize mini yoga breaks.
Go outside: While play dates may be out, kids still need physical activity throughout the day. Schedule outdoor “recess” where kids can play and get fresh air. Other possibilities include going for a bike ride, planting a small backyard garden or setting up a campsite in the backyard.
Don’t forget creativity!
Cut-and-paste collage art, cupcake decorating or home-play productions are just a few ideas for tapping into your child’s creativity. For rainy days, many museums now offer virtual tours online, giving kids (and you) the opportunity to view the world’s masterpieces from home.
Here’s a list of resources and activities that will help you put together a plan filled with delight while maintaining a healthy balance of learning, activity and creativity.
Summer may present challenges for your family. But with planning and preparation, it can also be a season of success — for your kids and for you.
Co-authored by Dr. Pam Roggeman, dean of the College of Education, University of Phoenix, and Spring Eselgroth, senior copywriter.