5 Ways to Continue Your Child's Education During the Summer

Summer is a time for soaking up the sun, swimming, playing games...and learning? It can, and maybe should, be. Just because your kids are off from schools doesn't mean they need to turn their brains off. There are several things you can do to make sure your child has a productive and mentally stimulating summer. Following are five activities you might want to make available to your child during this summer break.

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educational summer vacations

1. Work

Can you have a fun, educational and productive summer? Sure - just ask Caine Monroy. Caine is a nine-year-old boy who lives in Eastern L.A. Caine spent one summer creating an arcade made out of old cardboard boxes in the back of his father's used auto parts store. With a little help and advertising, the business boomed! That summer, Caine learned all about patience, entrepreneurship, teamwork and creativity.

Your child can do the same. Encourage them to get a paper route, operate a lemonade stand or offer to do yard work for neighbors for a small fee. By doing so, your child can learn the same valuable lessons that Caine did. In many ways these life lessons are invaluable, since they really can't be taught in a classroom as effectively as they can through a 'hands-on' experience.

2. Volunteer

If for whatever reason your child can't operate their own business or find work elsewhere, volunteering is always an option. They could donate their time to hospitals, churches, soup kitchens, homeless shelters or at local charities.

They could volunteer to help out with a community project such as building a playground or cleaning graffiti off of public buildings. Or they might participate in a missionary project through their church. Volunteering is another way they can learn invaluable lessons such as helping others that in many ways transcend the classroom.

3. Read, Read, Read

Some kids might not want to hear this, but reading is an important ability that is used in nearly all other subjects. It's a good idea to keep your child's reading and comprehension skills sharp during the summer months.

Encourage them to bring a book to the beach or pool. Since so many kids respond to electronic devices, have them read on a Nook or Kindle, if possible. Ask them about what they're reading. Have them summarize the plot and see if they are understanding what they're reading. Challenge them to read a specific number of books before school starts again.

4. Camps

Summer camps offer plenty of fun activities such as hiking, canoeing and swimming, but did you know that there are educational or academic summer camps out there, too? They typically last for one week and you can choose camps that are devoted to single subjects such as reading, science or math. There are also camps offered in, among other things, computers, creative writing, acting or precollege programs.

So by all means if you're thinking about summer camp for your child, send them to the 'fun' one first. But an educational camp later in the summer can be a great way to prepare them for the coming school year and refresh them in subjects where they might have struggled in the past.

5. Day Trips

If you're like many families, you might be taking a week-long vacation to the beach or taking day trips to amusement parks or community swimming pools. These activities are a big part of the season and should certainly be enjoyed during the summer months.

However, if it's educational value you're looking for you might want to take some other trips as well. Zoos, museums, historical sites, planetariums and nature reserves are just a few places where your child can have fun and learn at the same time.

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