Here are some ideas on how to turn everyday events into learning opportunities.
1. Journal: Encourage children to keep a summer journal. Provide a notebook, stickers, markers and glitter pens to create a beautiful cover. Then have children record all their summer adventures. This will help them learn how to tell a story in their own words, help them practice reading, writing and their artistic talents. It will also provide a nice reminder of good, quality family time.
2. Investigate: You may not be planning a long or expensive family vacation, but that doesn't mean that you can't see your area in a new light. Going on a walk on a familiar trail? Bring your smart phone and research plants you see along the way. Going to a local museum? Even though you may have been there a few times before, read label copy, get the audio tour or ask when a docent to show you around. You may learn something new from the exhibits.
3. Car Ride Games: If you are planning on spending time in the car this summer, help children learn while they ride. Having a fun game will not only stimulate their brains, but is a great boredom buster. Play the license plate game and try to find all the letters of the alphabet in different license plates (in the right order) or see how many different state plates you can find throughout the summer.
4. Talk: It seems simple, but talking with children really does provide a great way to teach them about a number of things. Ask them to spell a challenging word while standing in at the super market, or teach them about the value of money, but letting them pay at the check-stand. Talk to them about temperature and weather while on a long summer walk.
5. Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of items that you must find as a family. Include items such as a red car, balloons, a service man or woman in uniform or a boat and then hunt for these items when you go out for a fun family adventure. This helps children learn to pay attention to their environment and helps keep them from being bored while in the car.