There’s nothing most kids love more than being out of school. Even if they love seeing their friends and even love learning, there is something about the freedom that afternoons, weekends, and seasonal vacations bring that simply cannot be beaten. But as parents, it’s important to find balance for our kids. They need to play, explore, and socialize, but they also need to keep learning in order to not fall behind in school. It’s important that parents and caregivers find ways to help kids explore and learn simultaneously. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to accomplish this goal. These simple tips from STEM Voodoo show you how.
Keep Entertainment Educational
Ideally, kids should spend their time playing outside, but with unpredictable weather and busy schedules that only get busier once school begins, this isn’t always possible. Instead of turning on cartoons, consider educational programming or apps that can keep kids learning in fun and unexpected ways. Even games that are not strictly educational can have solid brain benefits. What’s more, kids can take these educational opportunities with them during weekend family trips or while they relax in their bedrooms.
You can also look for educational projects and activities that you can do together with your kids. Even a simple trip to the zoo or playing in the backyard can be educational. Talk about the growth cycle of plants and learn fun animal facts. Or have your kids keep a journal of what they saw to practice their writing skills. You can also go to STEM Voodoo for great ideas about how you can encourage exploration of science, technology, engineering, and math with your kids.
Encourage Your Kids to Read
And while streaming educational programming can be a perfect way to engage children in casual learning, All About Vision warns that it’s important your child doesn’t spend too much time staring at a screen, since overexposure can worsen academic performance and decrease attention span. Instead, get your kids involved in reading programs and challenges that can help keep kids learning and even reward them with free books. If your child is struggling with literacy, now is also the perfect time to look into reading tools that can improve his or her reading and comprehension skills, and improve academic performance once the new school year begins.
One good way to get your child into reading is to dedicate an uncluttered space — or even a room — to reading. You could outfit this space with relaxing decor, a cozy chair, or a reading nook near a window. However, listen to your child and their interests to ensure you’re outfitting this area with things they enjoy. Finally, if you make big changes to this room, keep all your receipts and, if possible, snap some before-and-after photos to showcase what you’ve done. That way, if you decide to sell, you’ll be able to report these changes to an appraiser.
Explore and Adjust for Different Learning Styles
Some kids struggle in the classroom because they need different learning styles to retain information. For children affected by ADHD, determining these learning styles can be key to helping them overcome academic anxieties. That can mean presenting information in a tactile or auditory form, so think about planning some hands-on learning activities that will engage your child’s preferred senses and learning style. If your child tends to learn through listening, you can use free audiobooks. For children who learn by touch, planning some hands-on activities is key to boosting learning abilities.
Plan Some Relaxation Time is Important
Being proactive about ongoing education is a smart move for any parent, yet Lifehack explains that children of all ages need downtime in order to preserve their overall health and academic capabilities. Kids who are constantly pressured to stay active and engaged tend to exhibit more signs of anxiety, which can have a negative impact on their ability to learn. Know that screen time doesn’t count as true downtime, so encourage kids to spend a little time each day simply relaxing. For kids who have trouble staying still, relaxation can take the form of experimenting with art or playing outside.
Take Time to Play and Learn with Your Kids
Life can get hectic, but it’s important that you take the time to help your kids enjoy learning. But it’s important for kids to have fun, too, especially as a family. Find a way to balance ongoing learning with both family and individual fun so that your kids will be refreshed, recharged and ready to take on their next school day.
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