As school comes to a close and I meet with parents to report on their child’s progress and plan for the next school year, the question that comes up every time is “What can I do with my child this summer?” For many of the families that I work with, summer camp is not an option. Here is a list of some of the activities I suggest to families, to keep their children engaged and actively learning throughout the summer

1. Make ice pops

Who would have thought that an activity so simple could be such a rewarding language experience? You can bring your child to the market to pick out fresh fruits to use. You can talk about the different sizes and colors of the fruits and examine the seeds. Have the child tell you the steps you took to make the pops. At the end, everyone has a nice, cold ice pop to enjoy!

2. Visit a local museum, zoo, or aquarium

In Brooklyn, we have access to some of the world’s best art and culture. Take advantage of this, in a child-friendly way! Before going, you can read a book about some of the things you may see. For example, if going to the museum (on a rainy day, of course!), you could read “When Pigasso met Mootisse” by Nina Laden before going. This way, the child will have some background knowledge/new vocabulary before your adventure! Afterwards, you can talk about what you’ve seen and create your own artwork!

3. Create an outdoor scavenger hunt

Don’t keep the kids cooped up in the air-conditioned house! Send them out into the fresh air. Together with your child, you can create a list of things to find in your backyard/on a walk/in the park…For younger children, the list can be visual. For older children, you can make a list that they must read.

4. Keep a journal

Many of my students leave New York City for the summer months. This is a great time for them to record what they are doing. I advise children to tie together sheets of paper or to get their child a small notebook and a disposable camera. The child can then have fun taking pictures and writing about all the interesting things they saw. Plus, they will have something to share with their classmates when they return in September!

5. Go to the beach

Everyone goes to the beach at least once during the summer. Why not take the opportunity to enhance language skills? There are some great picture printouts that you can color and use before going.

Let your child enjoy and benefit from the summer months. These simple activities will help you both have a fun and rewarding summer.

For more information, contact Jocelyn M. Wood