By Sara Osborne
Warmer temperatures and longer days are building excitement for students and their families as summer approaches. We’re all eager for a change of pace and a break from the burn-out often associated with the end of the school year, yet we worry about our kids losing their skills over the summer. This need not be the case, however, if parents consider the many creative opportunities for their kids to continue learning over the summer. While the possibilities are virtually endless, this week we are sharing a few suggestions for continuing your child’s learning over the summer break. Today we take a look at Science. (Check back the rest of this week for other topics—Mon: Math; Wed: Reading/Writing/Grammar; Thurs: History/Geography; Fri: Latin and Other Languages).
Opportunities to study and review science concepts abound in summertime! While some of these activities can be done solo, many of them make for great family adventures!
- Nature Journals: Encourage your child’s observation skills with a nature journal. Go as fancy as you like—choose a blank notebook or sketch pad, or consider one of the numerous options available on com, such as the Small Adventures Journal, which includes writing/drawing prompts, information about plants and animals, and specific directions for engaging the natural world.
- For the Birds: Our family has been shocked at the number and variety of birds that have visited our backyard since hanging a simple, inexpensive bird feeder. Capitalize on the opportunity to observe our feathered friends in your own backyard, and pick up a book or two to help with bird identification. Encourage your children to note their sightings, draw/paint the birds they see, and read about each species.
- Animal Tracking: Add some fun to an average hike by hunting for animal tracks. Take photos with your phone or camera, and give your kids the task of determining which animals left the tracks.
- Weather Patterns: Have your child keep a journal of weather patterns, and check out library books that correspond to the weather you encounter. Your child can even try his or her hand at weather predictions and learn about how meteorologists approach their work.
- Star Gazing: If you like to go camping (or if you’re willing to walk outside when it’s dark!), consider bringing a constellation book along. Look for the constellations together, and learn about how explorers used to navigate by using the stars!
- Experiments: Books and websites abound with ideas for homemade science experiments. If your child is crazy about science, consider dangling this carrot in front of him or her as an incentive for reading, chores, or other obligations.