Summertime is a wonderful time for kids. Children's growth and development is enhanced through the opportunities they get to learn in the summer.
They get to spend time outdoors, explore their world and have fun. When camping, they experience nature first-hand and learn about their environment through exploration and lectures provided at the campsites and parks.
They get to practice their social skills by meeting new friends. These summer friendships can be valuable experiences. Through their friends they learn about other places, share ideas and hobbies, and perhaps will continue their friendships through correspondence or meeting again. Most of these friendships do not survive but nevertheless the insights and experience gained can be very worthwhile.
Seeing relatives, meeting cousins, being with grandparents are ways for kids to connect with their families and re-establish their roots.
Children are interested in where there parents grew up and what it was like. Looking at pictures, home movies and listening to family stories help to give them a sense of place in the world. It also helps give them another perspective on the world. Also just spending time with you, doing things that are out the normal routine helps them to see you in a different light.
To help further develop perspective and to encourage reading and writing over the summer, I would suggest a diary or journal be kept. For younger children it can be in the form of pictures they draw or photographs taken. These journals can be about specific things such as a trip or it might be a daily one. You can expect some resistance to this but in my experience kids do like to look back at them later and treasure the memories.
Encourage the maintenance of their academic skills through reading programs at the library, doing shared reading, and having children create their own books. Math skills too can be encouraged through daily experience. Often this provides a meaningful experience with math so that they can see the operations in action and appreciate them more.
While we like to keep our children active, it is important to remember that growth and development happens in those quiet times too. Children get an opportunity to reflect on things they have learned. The quiet times give them chances to develop skills.Cameron is a Chartered Psychologist with the Alberta Children's Hospital. For more information, he can be reached at 616-6238.
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