Summer Challenge – Stay Smart This Summer

Looking for something fun for your kids to do this summer? An activity that's mentally engaging, purposeful AND fun?

Summer is a great time for your children to apply the skills that they have learned in school in a relaxed environment. To keep your children "smart" this summer, throw out the traditional worksheets and "bridge" books, and try something a little different … and a lot more fun!

Below is my "Exclusive Eight" list of things that you can do sneak in some learning for your kids this summer:

Exclusive Eight List: Things To Do to Stay Smart This Summer

Vacation Variables – Heading out of town this summer? Encourage your children to apply their research, math and cooking skills by researching historical points of interest, converting currency, or recreating local recipes.

English Made Easy – Comparative essays, Book Reports, Character Analysis … even hamburger paragraphs can be fun when you are writing about something interesting and engaging. Many of the summer's most anticipated movies started off as books. Pick up Rowling's Harry Potter, Meyer's Eclipse or even Cleary's Ramona – and encourage your children to jot down some thoughts about the books to help them delve into the stories behind the big screen productions. Don't forget to celebrate by seeing the movie!

Scavenger Hunt Spectacular – Research a point of interest such as the zoo, a historical landmark, or even a grocery store, and put together a scavenger hunt! Come up with some clever clues or a treasure map to teach your children problem solving and navigation skills.

Calling all Mad Scientists – Try out some cool science experiments (search keywords: "science experiments at home") with everyday household products such as vinegar, oil and water. Can you really cook an egg on the sidewalk? How about turning a liquid into a solid with the flick of your finger? What would happen if your put a bar of soap in the microwave? Encourage your budding scientist to keep a log of all the experiments, and the science behind these great experiments
Brain Aerobics – Get a mental workout this summer – brain games are a great way for your children to stay mentally fit! You can find age appropriate brain games such as Crosswords, Word Scrambles and Sudoku online.

Botany 101 – Plant a garden and watch it grow. Enjoy the fruits of your labor – literally – with fresh herbs, a summer salad or a bouquet of wild flowers.
Get a Job – ok, not exactly. Summer is a great time to seek out job shadowing, mentoring or interning opportunities. Let your child learn what it really means to work!

Pay it Forward – Volunteer! Have your child become a Reading Buddy at your local library or take the family pet to an elderly care facility – your child can make a difference by becoming a positive influence in someone else's life.

The possibilities are endless this summer. Take advantage of the break from school to help your children apply what they have learned in school. With a little structure and a lot of creative freedom, your child will enjoy a productive summer!

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