School may be out for the summer, but learning doesn’t have to stop for your kiddos. You’ve probably heard how study after study shows kids’ hard-fought skills can fade over the summer months if they aren’t given new challenges to tackle.
But don’t invest in a blackboard just yet. There’s plenty to learn on a field trip to the local park or your own backyard!
Bird Bath Project
Make Feathered Friends
Look, up in the sky! Bird watching is a fun way to build observational skills – and you can do it almost anywhere. Staple a few sheets of paper into a field guide to document neighbourhood fowl.
When the kids spot a new red-bellied robin or pesky park pigeon, help them draw a picture that captures the bird’s colour, markings and whatever it was up to when you saw it in action.
Build a Birdbath
Ready to get crafty? Bring all those birds to you with a tempting place to grab a drink and get cleaned up. When you think about it, a birdbath is just a rimmed dish on some kind of pedestal – so let the kids be creative in sourcing materials.
- Shallow bowl, saucer or pie plate for the top
- Sturdy mugs, candlesticks or vases for the middle
- Upside-down bucket or bowl for a strong base
Stack items to create a fun shape, and use glue made for ceramic or glass to bond items together.
Mismatched pieces are fine for an eclectic look, but a quick coat of paint will unify even the wackiest assortment of thrift store items. Just let this adults-only step dry for 24 hours before adding your bath water.
Put your kids in charge of a garden safari. Just head outside and encourage their natural curiosity (usually known as dawdling) to investigate whatever they see, hear, smell and feel. Tuck a zipper top bag into their pockets to collect interesting specimens from flowerbeds, or give older kids a small notebook to sketch their findings. You can also let them go online to learn more about what they’ve discovered.
Grow Something Tasty
No room for a full-blown garden? Show kids how things grow on a smaller scale with an herb garden.
Find a sunny windowsill or porch railing and enlist little farmers to help you change the water each day and track the plant’s progress. When green leaves appear, transfer to a small pot with potting soil. By the end of summer vacation, you should have enough to enjoy in a meal or tasty snack! Plus, you’ll leave the kids with a bit of hands-on gardening experience.
Crafty Garden Decorations
If you’re looking for a little break, head indoors to craft some fun DIY garden mushrooms. And while you’ve got the paints handy, grab some pebbles and let the kids create their very own garden markers to help you keep track of anything you’ve planted together. Crafts like these make the kids feel more connected to the garden and teach them more about how to manage one.
Have any other educational or crafty ideas to keep kids engaged during summer? Share them with us in the comments below!