BY MARY ROCKEY, PH.D., BCBA, DIRECTOR OF PUPIL SERVICES, RANDOLPH CENTRAL SCHOOL
We all know that with those lazy, hazy days of summer can come lazy, hazy days in front of the TV or video games. Teachers will tell you that children lose skills over the summer and most teachers need to spend the month of September helping their students get back on track. Parents of younger children often say that children aren’t as involved in learning over the summer. But keeping the brain active as it develops is a year round job.
What are some things you can do with your child over the summer? Well, let’s start a list here and you can add to it as you get going.
Read. Researchers note that a child that is read to will be a better reader and enjoy reading more as they grow up. It doesn’t matter how old your child is. For the youngest children, books are a way to learn and hear language, make sense of concepts and spend time with parents. But don’t forget older children. Reading to older children is a way to help them catch the reading bug. Consider a chapter book that offers a chapter a day. In time, your child will be reminding you that it is reading time. You can add to the reading adventure with a trip to the library to pick out an interesting book to read. Children love searching library shelves for the “just right” book to take home.
Practice Math. When you think about it, math is everywhere. Let’s count how many days until we go to Grandma’s. How many eggs are in the refrigerator? I need to get enough pizza for you and your friends. If there are 8 slices in a pizza and you will each eat three pieces, how many pizzas should I order for the four of you?
You can also work on projects that involve math. Think about your garden. Let’s graph how much our corn grows each week. You can also pull free math worksheets from many sources on the web like edhelper.com, softschools.com, freemathworksheets.com, etc. But in reality, while there are a few children out there who may love to do a worksheet, most would do better with the everyday math you can work on in the examples above.
Stay Active. Keeping the body moving, keeps the mind moving. Consider going on a nature walk. Point out the different things you see and talk about them with your child as you walk along. Ride a bike or shoot hoops with your older children. Exercise helps children learn. It keeps the brain moving and we all need that.
Now, keep your list going. Or add things to each of the three areas. Spend those days of summer keeping the brain active.
Mary Rockey, Ph.D., BCBA is the Director of Pupil Service at Randolph Central School.