Summer break doesn’t mean a break from learning. Now is the PERFECT opportunity to teach your kids an incredible variety of subjects, hobbies, and skills that are better received OUTSIDE of a classroom setting. Here are some ideas and ways to take advantage of this time to invest in your child’s education.
Dive into the history of your city or a city nearby.
Every city has a history. Google your city’s history together or ask your child to do their own research and give a presentation to the family! Then you can spend a weekend visiting various historical sites in your city, such as the oldest building, city hall, historic downtown, oldest restaurant, and important sites. If your city’s history doesn’t seem to be very exciting you could take a drive to a place with a richer history such as St. Augustine! Take a day trip visiting the fort, riding the bus tour, enjoying the museum and asking your child questions about what they think of past events, and how it could be applied to present day. This is a simple but incredible way to help your child apply the knowledge from gathered local historical events. Make sure you stop in for brunch at the Blue Hen Cafe! Their biscuits alone are worth the drive!
Explore Nature Trails.
Living in Florida we’re blessed to have so many nature trails all around us! Use this AMAZING site https://www.alltrails.com to find new trails. All you need to do is type the city that you’re interested taking a walk in, and an entire list will pop up! Our favorite trail is the Seminole Cross trail that runs between Oviedo and Winter Springs. Plenty of shade and perfect for dogs on short leashes, strollers and bicyclists! You can park at the Townhouse parking lot early and take a long walk before the sun gets too hot. Then when you’re done, stop by Walls of Books and grab something to read while enjoying a delicious breakfast at the Townhouse, and maybe some of Kelly’s homemade ice-cream for dessert after! (119 N Central Ave, Oviedo)
Music is not only a wonderful hobby, but also the only task that strengthens both sides of the brain simultaneously, an emotional outlet, and great skill to have for personal growth. Taylor Academy of Music located in Winter Springs is one example of in home private lessons available for summer classes! Find our more here: Taylor Academy of Music
Summer Work books.
I remember my parents doing this with me in elementary school. I can’t say that I enjoyed it, however I noticed an improvement in my spelling, reading and mathematics. You can always find them in book stores, but often brand new at thrift stores for $1!
Play Games Together.
Bring back Family Game Night! People of all ages learn by having fun. Games are a fantastic way to learn about taking turns, counting, numbers, animals, following instructions, negotiating, managing finances, strategy, winning, losing, and playing fair. By playing games with your children you will receive more insight into their maturity and temperament. What do they enjoy about the game? What do they struggle with? What frustrates them or gets them excited? Are they a good sport? Gullible? Strategic? Do they cheat? Do they care about winning? Are they a quick learner? A risk taker? Games are a fantastic way to build relationship and finding more intimate details about who your child is as an individual. Make sure to let them play as themselves! As long as they’re playing by the agreed upon rules, let them make their own mistakes and victories. It’s not about teaching them to win, it’s about getting to know them.
Mad Science located in the Oviedo Mall has several camp options for kids to explore the wonderful world of science! Find out more here: Mad Science Or, if you’d rather conduct these experiments in your own home and don’t mind the mess, check out this blog filled with science experiments for kids! Kids Activities Blog
Gihonn Online Tutoring.
Gihonn is a new online tutoring company helps kids 7yrs-22yrs specifically in the areas of math & coding! For math, they go over the future class syllabus to ensure all lessons help the student get ahead in class. In a world continually advancing in new technology and computers it’s an invaluable skill to have. Click here for a free consultation: Gihonn Free Consultation
Encourage your kids to spend less time on electronics and more time with their nose in a book. A few ways to encourage your children to read is by creating a summer reading list of books you find appropriate for their age level. When they complete the entire list they get a prize! (Classic childhood dream prize for me was a pizza party with my friends!) Or a small prize per every book they finish. In elementary school my parents used to give me $0.50 cents for every book I read (I was going through the Romana Quimby series). I don’t think most kids would get out of bed for $0.50 cents anymore lol- but you get the idea! Another idea is to join a summer reading camp. There is one I highly recommend organized by the Literacy Equestrian Center that takes place as the Cheyne Ranch in the company of adorable farm animals! Some fresh air and reading is exactly what kids need more of. Click this link for more details: Literacy Equestrian Center Cheyne Ranch
School House Rock Songs.
OLD SCHOOL, I know- but I learned a lot from those tapes. Music is an incredibly underrated weapon for learning. How many songs do you know by heart? Imagine if the lyrics helped you ace tests and get summer jobs! Plus you can find them all on Amazon Prime for free about grammar, history, science, and more!
Teach them about Finances & Budgeting
Depending on their age, give them the task to pretend budget for. Perhaps they are responsible for “paying” for the family going out to dinner and have to make sure they have enough money for what everyone orders & including 20% tip! Or maybe they need to budget for an entire month’s necessities. Hand them a fake paycheck of what they might earn for their first job or what you earn and give them a list of monthly bills of the house, car, phone, subscriptions- etc. They also need to budget & buy the groceries, and any other errands for the home & family. This could be just a day project or an on going more realistic project throughout the month. Managing finances is one of the many skills I hear adults say they wish they’d known more about before leaving the nest.
Cooking & Baking together.
The “Freshmen 15” is pretty well known most likely because so many teens go off to college and then realize they don’t have any idea how to cook for themselves. So they end up eating microwavable filth or ordering off the dollar menu. Do your child a kindness and spend time together in the kitchen. It’s a great way to pass on family recipes and cultural heritage. If you’re not the greatest cook yourself and feel unqualified to pass on any kitchen expertise, don’t let that stop you! Youtube and Instagram are filled with cooking channels! My favorite YouTube chef is Laura Vitale. Here’s a link to a pretty simple dinner win: Laura Vitale Fettuccine Alfredo. Incredibly easy to follow and 100% success rate following her recipes. If you prefer cook books, follow local business mama, Christine Pittman, on Instagram @cookthestory and check out their chicken cook book available at the My Oviedo Store! With the price of beef these days, I know I’ll be eating a lot of chicken- so I’m very thankful for a book like this to help mix it up!
Theme Parks and Playgrounds are wonderful areas of learning, exploring, and getting energy out- but don’t forget about these equally entertaining and more intellectual alternatives such as the Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Science Center, Winter Park History Museum, Art & History Museums of Maitland, Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, Sanford Museum- so on and so forth. There are so many museums in the Orlando area that you could visit one every other week for the whole summer! Plus, they’ve got AC!
Lastly, just ask your child to pick one thing they’re interested in, and learn about that one thing all summer together.
It can be anything! Baseball, Make up tutorials, Bowling, Animals, Speaking French, Anime, Cooking, a specific Country, their favorite band, local restaurants, hiking trails, kayaking, learning hip hop, working out- whatever it is, become “experts” together and make an effort to bond over it. Either asking every night at dinner “What did you learn today about ____” or every Saturday morning either researching or performing the activity together. Make it consistent throughout the summer and then plan a “finale” before school starts. If bowling is the hobby, plan a bowling party. If makeup is the activity, invite a bunch of friends to do all their makeup, have a photo shoot afterwards & go out to dinner. If it’s learning about another country or language, go to a restaurant or cook a meal traditionally served in that culture. If there is a finale, your child is much more likely to continue to explore and learn throughout the summer because there is a goal to look forward to and accountability especially if their friends are involved.
I hope this list gives you some ideas on getting involved with your child’s development and learning together. We only have 18 summers with our kids before they graduate. What were the things you wish you knew more about before you graduated high school? How can you share those lessons with your kids now? Knowledge is a gift, so make it Christmas in July and give it all away. There is no better time to invest in your child’s future than in the present.
What will you be teaching your kids this summer?