Learn More This Summer (I mean..have more fun!)

1. Books, books, books, books!! Help your kids make a reading list. Use the Newbury Medal Award Winners, or the Caldecott Medal & Honor winner list, or something like this, or this, or this. Get some on audio, read some out loud (yes, I still read aloud to my 12 year old and will continue to) and set aside time for them to read by themselves. Our library has a great kids reading incentive program – sign up or make your own.

2. Make a list of places to visit – like The Grounds for Sculpture, NJ Botanical Gardens, and definitely take them to New York City. Local, day trips, or plan big – but make a list and check them off. I have hot day, rainy day, and ‘just right’ days planned.

3. Make a list of things to do – fish, paddleboat, river stomp (yes, just like it sounds), milk a cow, pick strawberries, geocache, or ride the Staten Island Ferry.

4. Puzzles and more puzzles. Sodoku, word finds, mazes, crosswords, or 1,000 number dot-to-dots.

5. Play LOTS of board/card games. Othello, Blockus, Qwirkle, Cathedral and Gubs are a few of our favs. Pick some classics or look for new stuff – and play with them. Teach them to play card games.

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6. Pick a theme. Rivers, lakes, old houses, old trees, hikes, waterfalls, or whatever strikes your fancy. Research, list them and go!

7. Pick great movies and documentaries. Make a list (I am fond of lists) of classics movies to work through on rainy or super-hot afternoons – or when everyone is shot from too many hikes 😉 We’ve seen many of these, and the rest are on our list. Netflix is packed with them, and so is your local library.

8. Pick a kit – or two. The projects and activities from Thames and Kosmos and Snap Circuits are fun and can keep kids busy for long periods of time as they work through them.

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9. Visit Nature Centers and Environmental Education Centers like this, this, this, and this. Free!

I am conscious of costs for all of these things. We use the library and Netflix. I call ahead to venues we would like to visit to find out if they have free or discounted days or times of day – many do! You can buy a NJ State Park Pass and use it all summer for hiking and swimming and it is very cost effective. I ask family and friends at Christmas for games and kits that the kids will use this time of year – now we have a stash to pick from.

Now – get out and get going and learn something have fun! Don’t forget to bowl for free 🙂

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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