By Lani deGuia Guest Blogger and Curriki Member
Not every child has the opportunity to go to camp where their summer days are structured with learning activities from morning until night. Summer is the part of the year where parents need to get creative in keeping their kids more than occupied on a dime. However, learning in the summer doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some ideas for keeping summer slide under control for budget-conscious families.
Free Summer Movies
Want to make reading come alive this summer? Find out what free and low-cost summer movies are being offered and prepare for it by having your child read a book that compliments one of the movies. Many cities offer “free outdoor movies in the park” nights where you can bring a picnic blanket and enjoy a movie together under the stars. Movie chains such as Regal Cinemas offer the “Summer Movie Express,” where on certain days and times, movies are offered for only $1. AMC Theaters offers a Summer Movie Camp for $4 and it includes a meal! Read Charlie Brown comics and then watch The Peanuts Movie. You can even read Paddington and watch Paddington 2! Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are also great sources of movies based on books.
Many local museums offer free admission days during the summertime, at least on certain days of the week. This can include art museums, aquariums, and historical landmarks. Is your child longing for more museum fun, but you can’t travel this summer? Check out the variety of free online virtual tours of many notable museums around the world. You can visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, The Louvre, NASA, the National Women’s History Museum, and more … all from the comfort of your own home!
Children as young as preschool can get a start in helping others out of the goodness of their hearts. Lending time and talents to a worthy cause can not only benefit children socially and emotionally, but also be a vehicle to see real-world problem-solving. Parents can get creative in finding one-time or regular volunteer opportunities for their kids. Do you have a neighbor, friend or family member who needs help with a task around the house? You can have your child offer their time to make things easier for them. Check out local museums, nursing homes, food banks, schools, and organizations for youth volunteer opportunities. Habitat for Humanity, the National Park Conservation Corps, American Red Cross and Do Something are just some organizations that have youth programs.
Summer Reading Programs
Most local libraries run a summer reading program that includes summer reading lists, book clubs, reading logs, and prizes for reading achievement in the summer. However, did you know many bookstores have summer reading programs as well? Barnes and Noble offers a program where children can earn free books for reaching certain benchmarks throughout the summer. Books-A-Million is offering a free summer book, pencil case, and/or pencils when children read four books from summer reading lists.
Local Recreation Programs
Check your local Parks and Recreation centers for events that are free and open to the public. These not only cover topics such as fitness and sports, but also art, culture, science, and math. You may find a one-day family fishing event for $2 or a 4-week painting class for free!
There are a variety of coding resources and online classes available for students to explore their interests in programming. 42 Silicon Valley offers free online coding classes for high school students where they can learn 21st Century skills and more sophisticated math concepts.
Do you have a child that loves to build things? Perhaps a budding engineer? Maker education is increasingly popular and is a sure way to get kids thinking about real-world problem solving and the application of math and science in designing a product. Stores like Home Depot offer classes for children and/or parents in building things such as birdhouses, cars and more. Makerspaces operate across the United States and give children the opportunities to practice design principles and technology.
Summer is a time to explore and learn through experience. There are a multitude of experiences that don’t cost a fortune and can become fantastic learning opportunities!
Lani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology. Learn more at Curriki.org.
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