Learning doesn’t have to stop with summer learning activities

Published 3:05 pm Friday, May 25, 2018

Summer may be a break from formal education, but keeping kids excited about learning can be an easy way to keep them active and engaged instead of zoned out on screen time.

The National Summer Learning Association estimates that kids can lose up to two months of learning during the summer but involving kids in educational summer activities can prevent them from forgetting skills they learned during the school year.

Encourage your children to keep learning outside of school with these fun and educational summer activities.

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Visit a science museum

Spend a rainy day enjoying a science museum, which offers hands-on experiences to make learning fun. Kids can build on what they’ve already learned and apply new discoveries when they return to school in the fall. Many museums offer special prices for families, which makes it an opportunity for the whole family to bond. Once you get home, talk about favorite exhibits or lessons and ask kids to express those memories on paper in the form of a journal entry or colorful drawing.

Head to the zoo or aquarium

At a conservation-oriented destination like an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoo or aquarium, kids can learn about the importance of environmentally friendly practices, animal care and welfare and more. Families can also explore the unique challenges facing endangered species and discover how members are Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE). After learning about animals that need help, kids can visit zebrapen.com/aza for fun games that reinforce what they learned. Kids can also draw their favorite animals, real or imaginary, and take a photo to enter Zebra Pen’s AZA SAFE contest. Prizes include zoo or aquarium tickets and items from the Zensations product line.

Go on a nature hike

Hikes provide abundant nature lessons, giving kids a chance to get some exercise while exploring and appreciating their surroundings. Visit a national or local park to get some fresh air and learn about preserving nature. Along with a picnic lunch, bring along information about local wildlife and plants, and have kids search for each item on the list as a scavenger hunt. Back at home, test their memories by having them create a collage of all the things they found.

See a show at a children’s theater

Experiencing live theater is a positive way to introduce kids to new cultural experiences. Because they’re typically short in run time, most shows can hold the attention of children while conveying important life lessons. Pick a show with lots of interaction that can allow kids to stay focused and maybe even participate in the show. Acting out their favorite scenes, illustrating favorite characters or writing a new scene or different ending are all ways to keep the learning going after the curtains close.

Join a library program

Special summer programs at libraries can give children a chance to enhance their reading skills. Many local libraries offer contests that challenge children to read a certain number of books during the summer and include a series of incentives for reaching certain milestones. The reading component is often supplemented with crafts and activities to make reading fun. Extend the challenge even further by choosing a favorite book and asking kids to write or draw a sequel that takes those characters on another exciting adventure.

Capture life’s moments

In addition to getting out and exploring new things, encourage daily writing, coloring and expression by asking children to creatively capture their summer experiences. Teaching children to write and draw about things they find fun is a great way to reinforce what they’ve learned and foster a love for writing.

Make summer adventures more memorable by encouraging children to capture them through these ideas:

1. Mom and Dad can join in on the fun by writing or creating their own bullet journals. Bullet journals can be perfect for planning summer activities.

2. Draw pictures of the favorite parts of the day.

3. Collect drawings, writing entries and photos to create a summer keepsake or scrapbook.

Find more ideas for capturing summer experiences at zebrapen.com.