Summer and winter vacations are a wonderful time to relax and enjoy a break from the routine of school. But, it is important to keep kids engaged in learning activities to keep their minds active.
Summer and winter vacations are a wonderful time to relax and enjoy a break from the routine of school. But, it is important to keep kids engaged in learning activities to keep their minds active. Here are a few suggestions to follow to help ensure your child’s brain stays engaged without ruining the fun of having time off from the routine of school.
If you let them, kids will happily stay glued to their screens all day long. A lot of electronic activities are passive and do not provide any educational value. To keep your child’s mind engaged, you have to limit his or her screen time. While not all screen time is bad, the more time children spend playing games or watching TV, the less time is available to spend on mentally stimulating activities or active play. Kids need to be physically active, they need to run around, engage in sports to stay healthy. Active kids tend to perform better academically and are able to focus for longer periods of time than kids who are not active.
It’s not just kids that need to limit screen time. Parents need to model responsible behavior by limiting their screen time as well. Parents should limit their TV watching time as well as the time they spend on their smartphones. It will require parental discipline and effort to set a good example and to steer their children away from electronics by deflecting their attention to other activities, preferably in a positive and loving way. The key challenge for parents today is to find things for their children to do that they will find more interesting than electronics.
Our brain continues to develop all the way into our twenties. That means children’s brains are primed to grow while being exposed to new experiences that teach them new things. One of the best ways to stimulate curiosity and keep young brains active is to expose them to as many new things as possible.
Take your child to places you have not visited before or engage in an activity you have never done before. Take time to find out what’s going on in your community. Museums, city recreation departments, parks and libraries are continually putting on special events. Find places or events where your child can engage in hands-on activities. Pretend to be a tourist in your own town. If you dig a bit, you’ll find a ton of interesting places, just a few miles from your home, that you have never taken time to explore. After your outing, leverage the learning experience by asking your child to discuss their experience as well as to write a story with a drawing about something new they learned that day.
If you want to keep your child’s brain active, provide them with puzzles or challenges to solve. Kids love puzzles. The type of puzzle or challenge that will interest them will differ depending on the child’s age and their abilities. Puzzles force children to tap into their problem solving and creativity skills. The more kids engage in activities that stimulate these problem-solving and creative parts of their brains, the better they will become at dealing with and overcoming challenges encountered in their academic and personal life.
Here are a few types of activities that are guaranteed to stimulate children’s brains:
Few things stimulate the mind as much as reading a good book. There is no need to just stick with the classics. Let your children pick out something they want to read. All types of reading will help to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Even comic books can help a child stay mentally active. Allowing children the ability to read the type of books that interest them most will cause them to spend more time reading, and lead to better academic performance.
Almost all libraries promote summer reading programs to entice children to stay actively engaged in learning activities during vacation time. To make it even more interesting, children can earn exciting prizes for spending time reading books they like.
In closing, the more fun the activity, the more likely your child will eagerly participate and want to repeat the experience.
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