Thursday, August 10, 2017

Summer Learning Ideas for Kids

It's the end of summer and we've enjoyed getting in some last minute learning opportunities before school started (very early!) in our new location! I focused a lot of attention on seeing things in our new area and trying out some new activities, so the girls could get a sense of what was available for them in Huntsville. We just ran out of time with only a few weeks available to us after we arrived here, because there was still more on my list of places to see - the Early Works Children's museum, the zoo in either Nashville or Birmingham, Southern Adventure water park, and more! These all had to be moved to the "in the future" list, as school started up for us this week!

Most places across the country will be going back to school over the next few weeks, but here are a few learning activities you can squeeze in to get some last minute summer learning before they head back to school, and start to get those wheels turning before they are back in class!

Exploring Nature

This one may sound like what they were doing most of the summer anyhow! I wanted to take the girls to a new place that we hadn't been before to explore nature and a different outdoor surrounding! This one was easy for us, since we had just moved and EVERYTHING was new to us - but finding a new park, new hiking trail, new garden area, or national site could be something fun in your area!

After we moved to Huntsville, we quickly got a Huntsville Botanical Garden membership because I had heard so many great things about it - and boy were they right! We love the children's play area and butterfly house, and have spent trips just exploring those areas. The rest of the garden is lovely too, and this will be someplace our family will enjoy year round.

We also took a day trip up to Chattanooga, Tennessee before school started to visit a place that my husband and I went to on our honeymoon, Lookout Mountain. This is a gorgeous area of Tennessee with expansive views of that section of the Appalachian Mountains. We took the kids to Ruby Falls for their first time every, and seeing the 165 foot natural underground waterfall in a cave was a really cool adventure for them!

Check out a Museum

This was another easy one for us, being new to the area - we had to of course check out the U.S. Space and Rocket Center shortly after arriving in Huntsville! I am a Space Camp Alumni, I proudly went to Space Camp, Academy, and Advanced Academy a number of times as a youth. This was one thing about the area I couldn't wait to share with my own kids. With lots to do and see, this was a hit for them and another place we purchased a membership to be able to visit all year long!

Brush up on their Math & Memory Skills

Something that can go by the wayside and be the first part of summer learning loss to occur, are math and memory skills. I know that when I'm working on summer learning activities, sometimes math activities can be one of the hardest activities for me to come up with, since math was not my strongest subject for myself. Learning Resources sent me this great game, Lil' Lemonade Stand-off, which puts a unique twist on the traditional game of memory, where the kids can take lemonade orders and earn coins for a correct order.

My girls have loved this one and it's been used a ton even with imaginative play around our house!

Check out the game in action in this video:

Create some Art

In previous summers, you'll remember that we did summer learning units where I would typically pick a theme for the week and then combine different learning activities, stories, hands on activities, and art - that went along with the theme. This isn't something we delved into this year with moving taking up most of our summer, but luckily all of our old videos are still on YouTube for inspiration!

Check out some summer learning ideas here on this playlist:

I especially loved this "Under the Sea" unit that we did, to coincide with the release of the movie Finding Dory. The water beads are some of my girls favorite warm weather activities to do as well!

All in all, it's been a great summer for us - and even though I didn't get to everything on our "summer to do list", I still have lots of great ideas of things I'd like for us to see in our new area in the future and we made lots of great memories with the things we did go do as well!

What's your summer countdown? When does school start for your little ones?

**Some items some in this post were received complimentary. All opinions are my own.

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