Keep Them Learning All Summer Long (1 of 3)
Enrichment Activities for Families
In this three-part FLVS Virtual Voice blog series, I will share enriching activities to keep students learning all summer long.
As our children enjoy the long days of summer vacation, parents all over the country have been hyperventilating as they fill 10 weeks of play dates, summer camps, pool parties, and weekend family adventures. It’s enough to make even the most seasoned parent’s eyes glaze over. As an educator I encourage parents to add one more activity to their summer calendar: enrichment.
I didn’t say grab all of the workbooks you can find and sit your child at the kitchen table for three hours a day! Personally, I cringe as I pass the summer workbook display table at my local bookstore. I am a proponent of “enrichment” activities that will do more for a child than a 300-page summer workbook and as a result will bring a family closer together.
I would like to point out that there is a distinct difference between learning and enrichment. When I taught the gifted program in local schools I communicated to my students as well as their parents how enrichment should teach them to think creatively and divergently. All too often traditional school classrooms are focused on the school grade, having to “teach to the test” and with that educational philosophy, creativity tends to be cast aside.
How are our children to succeed if they aren’t taught to think creatively? Look at the company culture at Pixar, Apple, and Google. These companies not only headhunt for the brightest candidates when hiring, but they look specifically for individuals who think creatively and are not afraid to challenge ideas. Creative thinking has changed the world we live in and our children need to start seeing the value of creativity early on so they may explore the many personal and professional avenues it provides.
Enrichment Area: Problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, technology skills, and literacy.
Have you been to the public library lately? The programs libraries are offering our children are not the storytime reading hours of years passed. In Orlando, FL, my favorite program is Whiz Kids, which is geared for children ages 6-12. Whiz Kids is a “tech club” that offers a wide variety of computer classes for both Mac and PC users. Classes are conveniently available at six Orange County Libraries and cover topics such as Internet safety, comic strip creation, music and movie editing, and a multitude of art programs. Will your child be the next Steve Jobs?
The “Kids Connect” section of the Orange County Library website showcases the large number of reading programs and special activities available each summer. All of these children’s programs are free, however, the Whiz Kids program has a $5 no-show policy that will be applied to your library card.
Always remember that reading at least 30 minutes each day should not end on the last day of school. There are a variety of book clubs available to children and if you can’t find one, create one! Not sure which books your child should read this summer? If your child is in grades 3-5 or 6-8, ask your librarian about the Sunshine State Readers book list for 2014. You can’t miss with a Sunshine State book!
Check out your local libraries and take part in some great summer enrichment programs!