Summer is a great time to help get ready for the upcoming school year. Yes, I know school isn’t out yet, but with my summer planning, I’m also planning academic activities too. I’m that mom. But I’m not talking about workbooks or computer games. As adults there are things that you do everyday at work, at home, at the store. They are things you probably don’t think about anymore. They have become second nature to you, but with a few mindful changes you can help your child become comfortable with the same skills.
There are always a few concepts that take a while to sink in with elementary students, and if school is the only time they are exposed to more difficult concepts, there is a good chance that understanding won’t be as strong as it should be. With a few changes, you can help your child have a better understanding and strengthen their skills. Keep in mind these are activities and ideas that can change depending on the age of your child.
Knowing exactly what time it is is much easier today than before everyone had a smart phone in their pocket. There are digital clocks literally everywhere. Your microwave, oven, bedside clock, T.V., cable box, cell phone, smart watch. But what about the analog clocks? Those can be really difficult, and extremely foreign to them. They aren’t as easy to read as digital clocks and most of the time they never see their parents use them. By simply having one in your house you can start talking to them about what time it is, and when you need to leave for your summer activities. Giving them the job of knowing when to leave and allocating enough time to get there.
My son thinks credit cards have an endless supply of money on them. That’s completely my fault. When we go to the store, he doesn’t see me counting out money to pay. He doesn’t see me counting coins to make exact change, or see a cashier count back money to me. He also hasn’t had the chance to spend money, actual bills at the store. Most of the time he spends gift cards, which are honestly just like credit cards in his hand. This summer I am changing that. I want him to see me actually going into the store and budgeting what I’m buying. Talking about how much items cost, and adding tax. Rounding the cost and adding and subtracting those costs with each item I’m getting. Things that adults already do, but I have to remind myself to talk out what I’m doing and why. There are countless math skills being used and these are the math skills they will use for the rest of their life.
In The Kitchen
Get them in there. Get their hands dirty. Bust out the measuring cups and spoons. Talk about what is needed in recipes and why. How to use the right measuring cups and what happens if you use too much (think salt) or forget an ingredient. Put them in charge of dinner and give them recipes they must follow step by step. You can find a bunch of great ones on Pinterest, or even in those old forgotten cookbooks. Let them get it wrong. That’s how they will learn. It will teach them the importance of slowing down and following directions. So if you have a kid (or husband) that struggle following directions, this is great practice.
You can actually take all of these activities and roll them into one. Have your children plan a meal based around a budget you give them. Have them plan when to go to the store, when to start prepping for the meal, and when dinner will be served. Make it a whole family activity, or get siblings working together.
No matter what your plans are for the summer, think about how to help your child understand what they are doing and why, and enjoy those learning moments as a family unit.