Monday, May 31, 2010

Creating a Summer that Rocks, Part 5!

We are into single digits in the countdown to summer, and since April 26th, here at Whole Hearted Parenting, we’ve been talking about ways to create a summer that rocks. Our final suggestion in the series is to notice every opportunity for learning. Summer is a rich time for discovery and learning, as Amy Webb pointed out in her guest blog last week. Amy discussed “brain drain,” and she had many terrific suggestions for keeping the learning alive over the summer. Here are a few more.

One of my favorite memories from childhood was being “the navigator” on our family road trips. I loved having a job, and looking at maps and checking mile markers was fun! When children have a job, they feel capable, valuable and powerful – as I did giving my dad directions on where to turn and answering his questions about landmarks, cross streets and distances. It was team work. As a bonus, I learned how to find my way around new locations, so when I traveled later, I felt very confident. Summer trips, even if they are simply across town, are rich in opportunities to learn.

Look at atlases and maps with your children. Teach them how to determine the number of miles from one location to another. Teach them the meaning of the symbols, such as highways, capitol cities, National Parks, trails, airports, mountains and rest areas. If you are on an urban adventure, take public transportation. Using your bus, metro or subway map, teach your children how to navigate. Which stop is the closest to your final destination? Do you need to transfer? What do the different numbers, letters or colors of the routes mean? Children will learn that maps and atlases are much more informative and fun than simply using Google for directions.

If you will be traveling, learn about your destination and the areas you will be traveling through before you depart. Each family member can pick a location, research it and make a presentation to the family. An afternoon of family presentations can be entertaining! Each of you can be tour guides preparing everyone to look for special things – including wildlife – along the way. You will not miss the largest frying pan in the world, alligators lying by the side of canals or all of those “See Rock City” signs because you will be on the lookout!

Keep the learning alive this summer!

Summer Suggestion #5: Notice every opportunity for learning

For more ideas for creating a cooperative and connected summer, please read Whole Hearted Parenting’s book, 20 Steps to a Summer that Rocks!

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