“Summer is a great time to visit art museums, which offer the refreshing rinse of swimming pools – only instead of cool water, you immerse yourself in art.” – Jerry Saltz
Summer’s finally here. Our children are ready for a break, but more than that, they’re ready for F-U-N! Will they find it in swimming pools? Probably. How about art museums? You’re thinking “maybe”? Indeed, art museums may hold the elements of wonder and discovery that our children need after a year of worksheets, required reading, and science projects. BUT, art museums are hardly your only option. The important thing is that you use this time to help your child reconnect to his interests and explore. Here are just a few things your child might do this summer:
Do something new. Make time for your child to try new hobbies. Look for workshops your child can take that allow her to try new things without making a long-term commitment. Local venues, including museums, community centers, sport centers, and theaters frequently offer such opportunities.
Try new sports. Summer may be an ideal time for your child to tackle a new sport without the pressure of tryouts during the school season. Aside from sessions at day camp or sports clinics, consider asking a neighbor who excels in a sport that interests your child to give him some pointers. If there is an opportunity to join your child, allowing you both to stay fit while having fun together, go for it! There was friendly camaraderie in our house when my husband and I took up Tae Kwon Do, shortly after our sons started.
Explore new worlds through reading. With many reading assignments during the school year, students often find it difficult to catch up on their favorite series or branch out to other areas that interest them. See if your child’s school reading list offers any wiggle room so that your child can meet her school’s requirements while diving into something that will really spark her curiosity and imagination. Reading is fundamental for learning across all subjects, so keep those skills sharp.
Get away. Whether you take day-long field trips or plan family trips outside of your area, give your child a change of scenery. It gives your child a broader perspective of life in this world and adds to his store of knowledge which he can apply to his classroom learning. For example, if he is an American history buff, he’s sure to enjoy the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, but he can really immerse himself in that era at Philadelphia’s Constitution Center and neighboring historic sites, all within a 4-block range. The same can be said of many cities around the country, many of which are also in close proximity to more classic summer entertainment like amusement parks and beaches.
Connect with family and friends. Not only will you be nurturing bonds with true social and emotional anchors in your child’s life, but your child can learn more about who she is and her heritage through treasured conversations and experiences with loved ones and dear family friends.
Parents – do revel in the time you have with your children this summer. Yet, it is important to provide balance because school awaits in the fall. Ultimately, make sure your children find time to: (1) READ, (2) Practice (math and other skills), (3) Connect learning to real life, (4) Explore, and (5) have fun.
Copyright ©2013 by Gardener Parenting Consultants, LLC