Don't Let Your Kids' Brain Fry in the Hot Summer Sun!  
by Sam Glyn Nava, B.S.Ed, M.S.CCC-SLP
Alphabet Kids Director of Educational Resources
Over the summer, children (and parents) look forward to a break from school and homework for a few months; but don't let the lack of a school schedule equal lack of learning in your home.  Many kids go back to school in September with seeming like they have less knowledge than they left with in June.  Here are some ways to keep your kids learning all summer long, and have fun while doing it!
  1. Library - Take a trip to your local library! Many libraries have special programs over the summer including story tellers, craft activities and more.  Visiting your library over the summer provides a nice, air-conditioned activity that also focuses on keeping up on reading.
  2. Planetarium - A planetarium, or local science museum, is another cool summer trip.  Many science museums have enough activities for an entire day of fun.  Make sure to ask if there are scheduled activities throughout the day when you get your tickets, like movies on space or demonstrations by science experts...a great way to keep your little scientist thinking!
  3. Zoo - At the zoo, although you may not realize, your kids can have an entire biology lesson.  Try to go to the zoo on a day that is not too hot, maybe even overcast.  While you are there, you should make a point to read the information on the signs by each animal - this will keep your trip fun and educational.  Many zoos also have presentations led by zoologists, another fun and informative zoo activity. 
  4. Museums - Natural history, art, children's, baseball...the kinds of museums that exist are almost endless.  Find museums in your area and take a trip! If your child is interested in a particular subject, you may want to investigate if there are any traveling exhibits on that subject.  Bring a pen and pad to the museum, too.  You can either try to sketch what you see or write about different pieces; you may be surprised at how your child views some of the works in the museum.
  5. Summer Reading - Make summer reading fun! Most schools provide a list for summer reading...don't leave the reading until the week before kids go back to school!  Read the books together and have some fun with them during the summer break - create a play with the books to perform for family/friends, find movies related to the books, take a trip to a place your child read about (Charlotte's Web: visit a farm, Charlies and the Chocolate Factory: visit a candy store, etc.). 
  6. Play Games - Create and play! Playing board and card games can be fun, but try to expand beyond those same old games.  Try to work with your child to create a game, using a template of a game your family already enjoys - modify the rules to fit your family, maybe create game pieces that look like aunts and uncles and make the board look like your town or community (using map skills).  Creating different kinds of rules can also include math skills: for every number rolled on a dice, you can move two spaces (early multiplication lessons).