Just because school is out for the summer, doesn’t mean our learning opportunities have to come to a close. Need a bit of inspiration to keep your little ones active; here are a few ideas to make the summer rich with educational opportunities!

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Find a book series your children love and set a goal.

Find a book series that you and your children love and then simply set the goal of how many books you plan to read over the six-week break. Involve your children in the process of setting the goal, so that they are more inclined to participate in the activity.

If your children are too young to enjoy chapter books, consider setting a goal for books in general. Create a chart that hangs in a common area of your home and have your children tick off a box each time you read a book. Your children will become engaged in selecting books from the local library, purchasing new books or borrowing them from a good friend. Oh, and don’t forget to dig out family favorite!

Tip – Bring a stack of books to the table and spice up your meals. Often at breakfast or lunch, I will pick a book and read to my children as they eat. Meal times are quiet and my children are learning something as they eat!

Book Series Suggestion: Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne

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Pick a book…

Why children love these books: These books are incredible for young readers. From the moment we read the first chapter of book one, my children were hooked on the adventures of brother and sister duo Jack and Annie. When a magic tree house appears in the woods of their Pennsylvania home, little do they know that the adventure is about to begin. Follow along as Jack and Annie venture into the past and the future.

Why parents love these books: Not only are the books engaging and encourage my children to read, they also teach a history lesson with each new journey that Jack and Annie take.

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Travel – This summer we will be heading back to our home country. While we are there, we plan to visit a local national park. This is a great opportunity to teach our children the history of the park, encouraging them to understand what took place in that very spot years, and years ago.

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Be sure to check – out the websites for national parks, visitor centers and cities that you plan to visit. You will be amazed at the programs and events that are geared toward children. Don’t miss an opportunity to see your new travel destination through the eyes of your children!

Free Online Courses – If you are longing to dig your teeth into something other than a work document or a bedtime story, consider taking one of the many edX free online courses. Yes, the courses are free, taught online and some, are even self – paced. Brought to you by some of the most world-renowned colleges and universities, the topics are vast, the courses are fantastic and you will certainly walk away with an array of new knowledge.

www.edx.org/

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Cook or bake with your children – Who doesn’t love good banana bread, or a nice meal? Bring your children into the cooking process and encourage them to work through the steps of creating a meal, measuring items, mixing everything together, and cooking the food in which they have prepared.

Children will learn how to prepare, how to measure ingredients, how to behave in a kitchen and most importantly, to enjoy the food which they prepared.

Get into nature – As most of you know, I am a HUGE fan of the natural world. Nature has the ability to teach us so much from the cycles of life, animal habitats, and the seasons. Nature also has a calming affect on my family, which allows us all to take deep breath and simply pace down our hectic lives.

2015-07-11-Grmsl_248 Find a local hike, pack items to grill your lunch over an open fire and allow your children to explore either guided or unguided. You will be amazed at what they discover!

Remember, nature isn’t just the woods and the mountains. A backyard garden can be created and harvested teaching your children about the cycles of life. Take your children to a local river, stream or ocean to discover the type of nature that surrounds those particular areas, or visit one of the two incredible botanical gardens right in Basel!

Brain Quest Workbooks by Lisa Trumbauer

As native English speakers, electing to enroll their children in local schools, workbooks are a big part of our home learning program. When a friend recently gifted the Brain Quest Workbook Grade 1 to our son, I think I was happier with the present than he was.

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The books are broken down into sections, which include: Phonics, Spelling, Vocabulary, Language Arts, Reading, Writing, Sequencing and Sorting, Math Skills, Addition and Subtraction, Shapes and Money (the books are created in the United States, so be aware that the money is in US Dollars), Social Studies, and Science. We typically pick a page or two in several sections at a time and give him the workbook while dinner is cooking or during mealtime. The books are a great way to review and learn new skills, all the while boosting his self – confidence and for us, as his parents, we are thrilled that he is learning to read and write in his mother tongue.

Podcast –For an excellent perspective on “Becoming Wise,” plug into the TED Radio Hour with Guy Raz. This episode explores what is means to be wise from five unique speakers.

www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/481290551/becoming-wise

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Have a wonderful summer!

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