“No more pencils and no more books” is a chant heard by children across the country when they are finally released for the summer months. And while Alice Cooper’s lyrics go on to showcase how excited the children are about their freedom from schoolwork, they also highlight one of the biggest problems education faces each year: summer brain drain.
What to Do This Summer
Sure, students may not want to do schoolwork year-around, but there are plenty of ways to keep your children’s learning going strong—without the pencils and books! With the following suggestions, your children will have so much fun staying mentally engaged, they’ll be looking forward to the next learning activity all summer long.
* Nature programs—Nature and science go hand-in-hand, and many counties, cities, and other types of municipalities have established educational centers or learning centers where residents of all ages can learn more about the plants, animals, and natural elements that live in the region. During the summer months, they’ll offer classes on fun and engaging subjects like bird banding, water ecology, surviving in the wilderness, and star identification.
* Theater productions—The stage contains so many avenues of learning potential, it will take more than just this summer to experience them all. Start with set construction, which provides a great opportunity to learn building and designing skills. Lighting and sound have their own electrical specialties. For the performance itself, line memorization, understanding the character, and choreography all require intense training to keep the brain sharp all summer long. There are theater programs designed for children of all ages.
* STEM camps—There are many camps that offer science, technology, engineering, and math-based learning in a fun way for students. Take, for instance, the Bricks 4 Kidz camps, which focus on design and building skills using LEGO® Bricks. Camps are guided by experienced teachers around exciting themes like amusement parks, space and robotics, or even animated movie-making. All subjects feature hands-on building and designing using children’s favorite toy, LEGO Bricks. The theme-based project kits inspire the children’s sense of exploration by reinforcing principles of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Bricks 4 Kidz’ fun-filled proprietary model plans designed by architects, engineers, and teachers captivate imaginations, while cultivating inquiring young minds.
* Music programs—Music education goes beyond just learning notes and scales; it’s been proven in many different studies to improve students’ learning abilities in other subjects as well. Additionally, music education is extremely diverse, making it available for any child with any talents. For example, your child might sound more like Kermit the Frog than Michael Buble, but when you give him a trumpet he can make music come alive.
* Create a book club—Educators say it’s important for students to keep reading during the summer months. It doesn’t have to be textbooks or even pleasure books. Comics are great for keeping the brain stimulated. Get your kids and their friends together once a week for book club to discuss something everyone in the group read. Rotate where the club meets to include community parks, the local ice cream shop, and the community pool. Many libraries will host a summer reading program, and you can contact your local librarian for resources or ideas for keeping kids interested.
Whether a child excels at athletics or academics, is a musician or an artist, finding the right enrichment program does not have to be a daunting task. Thanks to Bricks 4 Kidz, LEGO Bricks have become the ultimate teaching tool, illustrating the principles and methods of engineering through age and skill-appropriate lessons ranging from kindergarten through middle school. With the addition of gears, motors, and robotics, children learn about technology through hands-on participation.
When looking for a summer educational program, make certain it has the following:
* Emphasis on cognitive development and building self-esteem in a fun environment.
* The use of relatable tools that children can learn with, such as LEGO Bricks.
* Time for working with groups as well as individually.
* Engaging lesson plans that promote creativity.
Summer is almost here, so get your children signed up for ongoing educational programs so they’ll be ready to jump right back into school when it starts up again next fall.