Your child thinks summer is a break from education. And while summer can be a break from the classroom, you know it shouldn’t be a break from learning. To keep skills sharp, many parents purchase flashcards and summer math worksheets. While there’s nothing wrong with these traditional educational tools, active learning activities are what will really help tough math concepts stick.
Traditional learning includes lectures, reading, worksheets and tests. Active learning puts the child in an activity that deeply engages the brain on many levels. Hands-on activities, practice by doing and critical discussion fall into this category. When you want to commit math skills to long-term memory, active learning is incredibly effective.
What’s more, many active-learning summer math activities are a lot of fun. Rather than requiring kids to complete a certain number of workbook pages each week, these projects don’t necessarily feel like learning. That means kids are more likely to want to do them again and again. Translation: no more complaining or fighting with mom and dad!
Bricks 4 Kidz summer camps provide one example of active learning opportunities where hands-on model building allows for math and engineering practice. Select the camp theme of interest to your child — from pirates and dinosaurs to robotics and space adventures. Boys and girls come ready to play and they leave with valuable experience practicing some aspects of STEM.
This type of hands-on learning engages a child’s brain and brings difficult STEM concepts to life. If you invest in your child’s sports teams or music hobbies, this is another fantastic investment that will pay dividends throughout his or her life. STEM skills will be retained in a child’s long-term memory so they are ready in the fall when they head back to the classroom — and beyond.
In addition to Bricks 4 Kidz summer camps, you can do some active-learning activities at home with a little creativity and ingenuity. Cooking, for example, is a great hands-on learning activity. Select a recipe with your child and then tackle it together. Practice measurements and fractions to demonstrate applied mathematics. Explain how ingredients react to show chemistry in real life. Calculate temperatures and cooking times, and then enjoy the tasty results.
Gardening is another wonderful hands-on project kids love. Whether you have space for a full garden or just a few containers on a patio, let kids select a regionally appropriate vegetable or flower and get their hands dirty. This creates a dialogue about biology and plant photosynthesis while broadening a respect for nature. Tracking the temperature, watering schedule and growth chart boosts math and science skills. Plus, because tending to plants is a daily activity, it helps your child learn responsibility.
When it comes to summer learning, make sure you go beyond the worksheet to explore some active-learning opportunities. Whether it’s building an incredible LEGO® project or growing a row of crunchy carrots, there’s plenty of hands-on learning at your child’s fingertips.