Five Free Ways To Keep Learning All Summer Long
Disclaimer: I was invited to talk with the team at Ready Jet Go! and learn more about how they create the show. No compensation was given for this post.
This summer I’m laying out some heavy plans to keep my house in one piece and my 1st (soon to be second graders!) skills from slumping.
Day camps are expensive, vacations may be more at-home than abroad, but there are plenty of ideas to keep brains growing and experiencing new ideas during the weeks of summer.
Here’s five ideas I have for our little summer break.
Utilizing Free Museum Days
The Los Angeles area, like other metropolitan areas, have museums that are free all of the time, like the California Science Center, or some that have free days every month. I’m hoping to abuse the Metrolink enough to travel and take in a couple good museums on the cheap this summer. We’re also members of our county museum system that gets us access to several sites. Our local museum has amazingly cold AC- perfect for the really hot days. We’ll bring some drawing paper and crayons and sketch out some pictures of bids for referencing out backyard bird watching.
Sign Up For The Summer Reading Program at the Library
They’re both old enough to take an active interest in books. Las year as part of his books I let him read the little picture books to his big brother. This year, I’m going to set a challenge of how many pages to read instead to make sure he’s getting some thick books and staying busy. Ours also has little projects to do over the summer, a perfect time to meet school friends.
STEM and LEGO Challenges
My eldest has a wide variety of colorful building blocks scattered all over my house (but mostly in boxes in his room). Pinterest is full of activity ideas from boy mom bloggers and STEM/STEAM-focused websites. Click here to see my personal board of ideas for this summer!
I’m considering making a week-long challenge of harder projects in the middle of summer – comment below if you’d love to see it as a post.
Writing To A Pen Pal
I’ve already organized a pen pal system with a friend. We decided both of our kids needed writing practice over the summer, so I grabbed lined writing paper and some colorful envelopes for my eldest to write letters to a buddy who lives a couple hours away. I’m sure my little one will draw pictures to send, and we’ll probably drop a postcard if we go somewhere fun. This is the sneakiest way I can think of to make my kid write all summer in complete sentences with proper spacing to prepare for second grade.
Tune Into PBS Kids
My eldest has watched BPS kids ever since I turned on Dinosaur Train, put him in a bouncer and then showered with the door open.
Real talk there.
The programming on PBS is such a wide variety, from Daniel Tiger helping my little guy through preschool drama and habits at home. For my 7-year-old, math and science heavy shows keep him learning even after he closes his homework folder.
Ready Jet Go! is a few months old now, and I am impressed by the quality (as well as other moms of my Facebook feed who reference it). It focuses on earth science and space, and does a good job of breaking down the science accurately- they even held off of the episode about Pluto until NASA completed their flyby. That was a happy coincidence that inspired an episode featuring the heart- shaped feature and a ‘Valentine to Pluto’.
I was lucky enough to go talk with the creators and learn about how they put together the show. It’s based in Pasadena and supported by a team of experts including “Astronomer Amy” aka astronomer Dr. Amy Mainzer, who works out of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and captivates audiences onscreen and off (including my three-year-old’s heart.)
The PBS Kids website offers clips, games, and videos. For Ready Jet Go!’s page, there is a link to a live space station feed and constellation worksheets.
My three year old loves it as well – it is complex ideas broken down beautifully and will start planting seeds of ideas for how the world works around him.
PBS’s programming is a treasure of art and education, and I support and love the programming, including the music performances and more that share art and culture with those who don’t subscribe to cable.
How are you planning to avoid the summer slump this summer?