The end of summer is fast approaching - big trips are done, play dates are dwindling and parents are running short on ideas to keep their kids’ minds and hands busy - all while anticipating the beginning of the new school year. But with a few weeks left of summer holidays, how can we best keep our kids learning to have them fully prepared for the start of the new school year?
Learning loss is a documented phenomenon and studies show many kids test 2 or 3 months lower in September than they did in June. So how can a concerned parent combat this loss and get their students brains back into learning mode for the new school year?
As a mom and a teacher, I'm always looking for ways to engage my daughter in productive activities that will keep her learning. If you are interested in doing the same with your kids, here’s the secret to summer learning you need to always keep in mind:
Keep it fun! It’s all about play.
I believe this is the key to most learning for young kids. Sure, you can drill your kids with flash cards or force them into workbooks, but when children don’t enjoy the learning experience, they really don’t retain the lessons. Play-based learning is your best tool for engaging kids and keeping those synapses firing. For me, the most integral idea of play-based learning is to follow your child's interests.
Learning is not about facts and figures that can be regurgitated on command. It is about training one’s brain to acquire new knowledge. It’s about letting little students discover new things, solve interesting problems and ask thoughtful questions. If you want to challenge your kid’s brain, provide a great tool, like the Hot Wheels FUNdamentals learning kit - you'll be surprised to see where your kids go with it.
My daughter is all about discovery and thoughtful questions. She is a like a little Pac-Man, eating up nuggets of information about the world. I introduced the Hot Wheels FUNdamentals learning kit to her and watched the education unfold.
At first, she was excited to see new cars. She first sorted them by colour, developing math and organizational skills.
Next she asked a few important questions (why don’t the cars have drivers? why don’t the doors open?), growing her communication skills and her ability to evaluate.
Next came some race experiments – testing her hypotheses regarding which car will go faster and which surface will they race best on as she hurtled the cars down our hallways. Fun science for the preschool set.
Together, we explored and assembled the 3D Summer Activity Cityscape. This handy little cardboard art kit focuses on basic school skills such as counting, language development, pattern recognition and more. She had a great time colouring it (see image above!).
Then we opened the Hot Wheels Track Builder Spiral Stack-Up and Hot Wheels Super Speed Blastway. She examined the pieces, she compared the lengths, and she ensured I added the labels in the right spots. She urged me to look at the directions while we built the kits together. She fit the cars onto the track pieces and explored their trajectories again and again.
All from this one kit, there was math, science, language, art, creativity, problem solving, imaginative play - all happening during this one exploration. And she had so much fun, I know she will return to the activities again and again.
Having taught primary grades, I can see how this kit would amaze, delight and teach kids under 8 years-old. There are so many inquiries and school subjects all contained in this one kit. The learning possibilities are unlimited.
If you want to stop the brain drain and get your kids’ minds fired up for school, find experiences that are fun and exciting for them. Throw away those workbooks and flashcards and let your kids play. Join in the fun and guide the learning from time to time, but be sure to let the child’s interests lead the way. If you let a kid explore the things they are enthusiastic about, and provide lots of engaging activities so they can discover new passions, there’s no telling how far they’ll go!