I don’t know about you, but for us, summer means picnics, sunshine, beaches, and getting out! But more than that, it means time spent with our family having fun and learning new things together. If you’re searching for a new way to incorporate summer learning with your kids, try planting a garden!
Now is the perfect time to switch from book learning to active learning.
What is active learning? I’m so glad you asked!
Not all learning comes from books, workbooks, and writing in a class. Much of what we use in life comes from more tactile skills and knowledge by “doing.” Do you remember learning to fish with your grandfather? Perhaps you have fond memories of gardening in the sunshine with your mom, aunt, or dad? First time learning to ride a bike? Life skills are just as important as book skills and may someday be the foundation for a productive career! Did you love to make cookies when you were a kid? Perhaps those culinary skills grew into a future restaurant business or Top Chef! We make memories from touch and “active doing.”
So this summer, let’s broaden the “what does it mean to be learning outside the box.”
Here are some great ideas:
1. Plant a garden.
Want to make it a bit deeper? Before you start, spend some time researching online with your kids which plants grow in your zone and the time of year it is best to plant them. If doing a vegetable garden, consider discussing nutrition as well. Look up various forms of horticulture. Research worms! Consider making a compost heap with those kitchen scraps. Talk about climate change and what we can do! This type of learning is also known as nature schooling, where students learn through exploration from the outdoors.
2. Build a birdhouse.
Let’s pull out those math and construction skills. Build it out of recycled materials, legos, sticks or create an artistic masterpiece. Find the glue, the paint and get dirty! Measure, cut, and paste. Don’t forget to measure twice!
3. Learn a new sport.
Ultimate frisbee? Basketball or baseball? Maybe beach volleyball. Learn the rules and get moving! Challenge family and friends to get out and play with you.
4. Collect something, anything!
If you are near a beach, go for long morning walks and collect shells. Look up apps like the Shell Museum to learn the type of shells and figure out what little critters used them! Talk about what happens to a shell after the creature that uses it dies. Explore hermit crabs. While you’re there, look at tide pools and jump in some puddles. No beach? No problem. Find a park, do the same with flowers, trees, birds, and more. Baseball or sports fan? Find sports cards but do the research. Learn about the game.
5. Get active.
Learn to hike, climb or waterski! Have the whole family learn to sail. Whether in a summer camp or a special class for the entire family, learn a new skill. Maybe you have a future navigator on your hands? An explorer? Instill a sense of wonder at the world around us and match with a sense of adventure. Feeling like a scaredy-cat? No worries, go slow. Learning new skills as a family often instills confidence in everyone as you support each other. Too far to travel? Look for a local ropes course, zip line, or something else that challenges your sense of confidence! Being brave is a learned skill and being brave enough to try new things is a lifelong skill.
Whatever you do, spend time together as a family.
Spend time with friends and learn that learning is not all in a book. The sky is the limit (yep, I mean skydiving). If you are not sure where to start, explore our Field Trips and Camps lists and find a family camp or great new venue near you. Enjoy your summer learning, having fun, and spending quality time together as a family.