Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Break - What To Do To Keep Kids Sharp

Summer Break from school is already here for some of us, and with it comes a break for parents too. Okay, it depends on how you look at it. I relish summer vacation because it's a downtime from homework and school pickups and dropoffs. It may be busier but somehow it feels less stressful. You may not agree but I'm sure your kids share in my joy.

It's easy to fall into the lazy days of summer with too much time spent doing nothing but watching TV or playing on the computer. A little bit goes a long way - too much and they'll be slugs when it's time to start school in the Fall.

So what can you do to keep kids sharp over the summer?

Summer School - One short class may make up for lost time in school or allow them to take something really fun they can't during the school year. Look for something unique like sign language.

Summer Camp - They're not what they used to be. There are summer camps for just about anything you can think of - acting, paintball, fashion design, computers - it's like taking a summer school class except better.

Make a Photo Diary - Most kids don't want to do anything that's like school work. Find something creative like photography and many kids will flourish. Have them shoot at least one photo a day and near the end of summer put together a book or slideshow of their vacation.


Museums - We went to the Reagan Library last weekend and it was perfect. We bought an annual pass so we can go back for free for an entire year. Kids actually love museums once you get them to go inside. They don't cost much and some are even free.


Here's a list of the top 50 children's museums by ShareRanks: http://www.faqs.org/shareranks/1488,Top-50-Childrens-Museums

Plan a Trip - It doesn't have to be outrageous. Maybe a weekend will do, or just one day going somewhere you and the kids have always wanted to visit.

Amusement and Water Parks - The entire family can enjoy this one but it can get expensive. Many parks have season passes that can cost less than two trips. If you have one close to home it just might be worth the expense of the pass. The physical activity is good for the body and the brain.

Summer Job - There are plenty of jobs with cities working as a recreational leader, lifeguard, or summer counselor. Check the Human Resources Department page of your city's website or just look for a link to Job Opportunities or Employment somehwre on the Home page. These aren't difficult jobs and they can build good connections with civic leaders.

There are so many things kids can do during summer break. Whatever you or they choose, it should keep them stimulated so they'll be mentally and physically sharp when it's time to go back to school in the Fall.