It is officially summer, with most kids already out of their regular school activities. However, this certainly doesn’t mean learning should stop for our kids. Many school-based Programs shift from more direct instruction-to child-oriented projects to make it more fun for the student.
Research shows that children learn best when presented with hands-on, playful learning experiences. Summer is a perfect time to put this into practice because they learn in a more relaxed, less rigid environment. It further confirms that young children flourish when they participate in cooperative and interactive activities because these activities provide children with opportunities to discover answers as they work through or seek to explore something they are interested in. This interest-driven and hands-on activity is what helps keep the children motivated and focused.
For parents who choose not to have their children join a school-based summer program, however, much more effort must be made to provide them with equally exciting summer family activities and to keep education going through the summer.
Where do you start?
For older children, a good beginning is to ask what are they interested in—music, movies, sports, or perhaps drama? Thereafter, find out what they would like to know. Perhaps, they would like to know how is a sport or game created. Then, let them choose what to do next like coming up with a new game or creating a video where they outline the rules of the game, among others.
Parents act as guides to help their children plan and organize their project. By working together, children further learn to collaborate their ideas with other children.
Parents can also apply this to younger children by taking the lead in providing a project that is suitable for their little ones, say, for example, focusing on animal-based activities since most young kids are curious and intrigued by animals.
The greatest benefit to children in project-based learning is that they are continuously developing skills needed for school and everyday living such as creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and memory. Moreover, they are guided towards becoming more motivated individuals.
But whether or not you decide to have your child join a school-based summer program, impress upon your kids that this summer should not be just all about them. Some of the best ways for children to spend a few days of summer is finding ways where they can serve.
For young children, giving them small responsibilities at home like watering the plants, putting away their toys or even spending time with a grandparent are easy ways to teach about the virtues of service, unselfishness and thoughtfulness.
Meanwhile, allow older children to get involved in a community feeding program or to teach underprivileged kids during summer. Those moments that seem boring at the start often create the best memories.
And remember, lest your children fall into the Summer Overload Syndrome (as discussed in my previous column), children need to have an unscheduled day of doing nothing. Boredom sometimes provides fertile ground for creativity.