Here comes summer break!
My son is old enough now that the day camps I used to send him to are no longer appropriate. As a result, I am looking around for enrichment activities for the summer. While I agree that he needs unstructured play time (and he gets that), the reality is that he also needs activities that will help him grow and improve, as well as continue to develop an appreciation for culture and art — and that will keep him from backsliding in terms of academics.
The good news is that I’ve bought myself a little extra time. He’s playing baseball, so that takes care of some of his activities. But baseball will only take him about 1/3 of the way through the summer. He will need some other things to do. Things that aren’t sports-oriented.
Learning Over the Summer
I think it’s important for him to keep up with some academic skills over the summer. Luckily, I don’t have to force him to read. He loves it. Although I am going to continue the school’s insistence that he read from different genres. I also keep him signed up for piano lessons during the summer, so there is that cultural touchstone for him. And it ensures that, for at least 30 to 45 minutes a day, he has something to do (practice!).
And, since he enjoys his screen time, I will make sure that half of his allotted screen time is spent on educational web sites. That ways, he has his fun on the computer, but he is also exposed to learning, arts, and culture.
We also like to take little day trips around the area sometimes. This is a little harder to manage, since it means that I have to re-arrange my work schedule. But, really, this isn’t anything new. My entire schedule is completely re-jiggered once summer rolls around. We have some historical sites around our area, and Salt Lake City is just a train ride away. In fact, I plan to take my son down to the planetarium, and to different museums down in Salt Lake. Not only will these be good experiences for him, but it will also provide him some additional experience with using mass transit. I taught him how to read mass transit schedules during our spring break in San Diego, and I will try to help him keep those skills fresh as we navigate Salt Lake.
And, of course, we have to do some hiking. Last summer, my son discovered that he really enjoys hiking, so we’ve looked at some of the hikes around our area (which is an outdoor-lover’s dream) and we’ll do two or three (can’t get too crazy; we still have two camping trips as well).
Anyway, it’s shaping up to be a full summer — and one that should keep my son well-rounded. Plus, when I really look at it, there is plenty of time for him to be “bored.” In those cases, I’m prepared. He has 4-H projects to complete, as well as a Scout handbook full of activities he can complete to earn merit badges. Anytime he tells me he’s bored, I can just send him to work on self-improvement activities.
What are your plans for your child’s summer?