Despite the cool weather lately, summer is on its way! Those 8 weeks of long days and warm nights bring lots of time to relax, but many parents are also interested in continuing the learning their children have been doing at school. The curriculum books you can find at Costco may be tempting, but chances are they’ll sit empty all summer; book-learning just isn’t appealing when the sun is shining and school is out!
Summertime is really the perfect opportunity for experiential learning—talking about the things you are doing, making connections, reflecting, asking questions, investigating, and engaging in sensory play.
Much of the learning we do with our Access Learning students is experiential. We are always looking for opportunities to help our students connect, engage, and understand by doing and making. We encourage curiosity and questions; we support critical thinking and problem solving as they are needed.
The key with experiential learning is to let it come up naturally. There are opportunities all around us to teach skills for literacy, history, math, science, and more! Here are a few ideas:
- Read plaques and signs, or challenge your child to find letters, sounds, or words as you look around your community.
- Offer your child the opportunity to pay for something. Ask them questions like, “Do we have enough money? How many quarters do we need? Did we get the right change?”
- Learn about time by observing how much time has elapsed: “Wow, that was a fun day! We left the house at 9:00 am and got home just now! How long were we walking around the zoo? No wonder my legs are tired!”
- Play board games. Depending on the game, this can help develop problem solving, cooperation, patience, communication, and many other essential skills.
- Go for a hike or a walk; point out what you recognize and talk about it with your child. Bring a notebook or make a digital note about plants, critters, or weather that you don’t know, then follow-up at home with an encyclopedia or online search to find the answers. Make a collection of items and use them to create art, make a nature journal, as math manipulatives, or for a science experiment.
Summer offers plenty of opportunities for learning, they just might look different than during the school year. So maybe instead of buying those curriculum books from Costco, your child can engage in some experiential learning moments and take full advantage of all the summer months have to offer!
If your child needs more support, one-on-one tutoring once a week or our summer reading program can help. Let us do the planning; you have the fun!