Sneaky Teacher: Summer Activities for Kids Can Be Educational and Fun


Sneak Learning Into Everyday Errands

You can spice up the "learning" in your everyday errands:

At the grocery store:

1. Enlist your child's help in writing the grocery list.

2. Give your child her own a list to fulfill.

3. Involved your child in guessing the weight of produce, the total cost at checkout.

4. Ask the manager if he would show you both the meat refrigerator or the cold storage area where vegetables are kept.

At the bank:

1. Enlist your child's help in filling out the deposit (withdrawal) form.

2. Talk with the bank clerk about how people use the bank.

3. Ask the manager to give your child a tour of your bank and chat about where the money goes -- and where it comes from!

At the cleaners, ask for a tour of the cleaning and iron machines.

At the gas station:

1. Estimate how much gas your car will take, and watch the pump numbers soar.

2. Guess how much it will cost to fill up the tank. (Yikes!).

3. Show your child under the hood of your car, where the oil goes, for example.

4. Ask the attendant to show your child how to change a tire.

At the post office, ask to see where the letters get sorted.

And the learning continues with your discussion around the dinner table, as your child shares what he has seen.

Turn a Visit to the Park Into a Fun Scavenger Hunt

Turn visits to museums, to parks, and to recreation areas into hunts of all kinds. Give your children a list of things they need to find:

At the art museum: Find an artist whose first and last names start with a P and who painted faces with the eyes in funny places. Find a painting that uses only two colors.

At the Natural History Museum: How many animals can you find which are smaller that you are? Larger? Who has toes? Claws? Whose eyes are on the sides of their heads? Whose are in the front? Who has fur? Hair? Feathers?

On a nature hike: Find something that an animal might eat. Find evidence that an animal lives there. Find something that grew on a tree. Find something that is crunchy.

Start a Long-Range Project Summer is perfect for long range project...because you have the time. Be only the consultant, not the director, in these pursuits.

Put on a production. Your child writes the script, recruits the players, and puts on the show. She makes the lists and invites the audiences (homemade invitations), arranges the theater seating, even bakes the reception goodies.

Hold an art show. Your child is the artist, hangs her work in the home "gallery." She creates and distributes the invitations; she cooks the reception goodies.

Hold a recital. Your child can perform his talent-a drum show, piano recital, karate demonstration. He makes his guest lists, invitations, and reception treats. He arranges the room and the audience seats.

Hold a creative writing/poetry reading. Your child creates the invitations, the program, the setting, the reception.

Build something from scratch -- a skate board ramp, a doll bed, a mouse house. Anything that requires thought, planning, directions, supplies, and elbow grease will keep your child's wheels turning.

Start any kind of a collection-rocks, shells, coins, stamps, baseball cards. The organization and categorization (and storage) require plenty of skill.

And the business of everyday life at home, offers plenty of learning opportunities:

Pay your bills with your child, letting him see what things cost and how you do it.

Invite your child to cook with you-measuring is a math skill.

Ask your child to help you clean out or organize almost anything! Sorting, alphabetizing, categorizing take thought and effort.

Hold a gargage sale of your child's possessions of his choice. He makes the signs, prices the items, organizes the event, runs the bank...and counts his money made!

Starting with reframing your ideas about learning, whether it's a project, a field trip, or just the business of daily life, summer is ripe with opportunities for reinforcing old skills and learning new ones. Who says the days of summer are lazy? They are just filled with expanding your child's thinking and growing his mind.

Calling All Parents! How Do You Prevent Kids' Summer Brain Drain? Send 'GMA' Your Creative Ideas, Tricks to Sneak In Learning

Get more parenting tips from "GMA."

Learn more about Betsy Brown Braun on Facebook and Twitter.

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