Pinecone-bird-feeders

End of Summer Activities to Get The Brain Churning Again!

By: Farheen Khan, Content Contributor

In the summer, we can do all the things we dreamt about doing all winter. For kids that means being able to play outside for longer; hiking, camping, boating, tag, man-hunt, jump-rope, biking, going to the park, basketball, soccer, badminton, tennis . . . the list goes on. Take this time to play with your children and spend some quality time with them; it is extremely important for their growth and development as empathetic and active individuals. But in the midst of all this family fun, we entreat you to not forget that academic goals can also be pursued in this free time. It won’t be easy, but we recommend designating about an hour in the morning for studying that which your child struggled with during the school year. Sit down with him/her and discuss the pros and cons of the last school year and glean what his or her strengths and interests are as well as insecurities and deficiencies. Whether it be reading, writing, math or science take some time out to address the issues and plan for them.

Additionally, try to encourage academic pursuits in fun ways. One idea is to make a bird feeder by coating a pinecone in peanut butter and then covering it with seeds to make a rudimentary bird feeder. Then, ask your children to observe the different kinds of birds that come and perhaps documenting them by drawing them and then using print and online resources to find out more about them. Or what about encouraging them to make a picture book for the home book collection? And if you travel somewhere then take a notebook and pencil along and show them how to write a travelogue. These are just a few ideas and you can even design a few yourself that are tailored to your child’s interests and way of learning.

In short, enjoy the rest of summer while it lasts and take advantage of all that this time offers.

summer learning at home

5 Tips to Boost Summer Learning at Home for Free

By: Vic, Viva Learn Intern

Amidst all the summer fun, it’s a good idea to maintain some learning over the break with your kids. Here are five tips to keep your child learning over the summer for free:

1. Write it out

It’s the summer. There’s a lot of time to enjoy activities like biking, swimming, camping, visiting the cottage, going on road trips, and the list goes on. Why not encourage the kids to write about these moments? Writing during the summer is an effective way to get the brain thinking and the hand moving. Challenge your child to paint a clear picture of their experience using as much detail as possible and more descriptive words.

2. Encourage participation within the home

Believe it or not, but responsibility is also a skill that can get rusty over the summer months with the lack of structure and routine. However, you can build on these skills during the break by encouraging your child to participate more around the home. Ask your child to take on some household chores. Sure – you will probably need to dangle a carrot in front of them (in the form of an allowance), but that’s okay. You will be teaching your kids the value of earning, saving and spending money.

3. See what’s going on at the local community centre

You may be surprised what your local community centre has to offer from art lessons to photography classes to cooking sessions. Visit the Milton Leisure Centre website to see what’s going on.

4. Get cooking

Cooking can be the most fun way to avoid summer learning loss. It’s an engaging way to practice following steps, learn about measurement and capacity and seeing something through from start to finish. Even better, there’s a fun reward at the end if you are making something fun like cake, cookies, pasta or pizza.

Tip: Turn this activity into a mini geography lesson for your kids. Ask them to find out which part of the world the recipe comes from and some characteristics about the local culture.

5. Check out Google Camp

Did you know that Google is running a free online summer camp called Google Camp? Google camp gets kids learning through fun, interactive science activities and adventures. Check it out here: https://camp.withgoogle.com

narrative organizer

Writing a Short Story with a Narrative Story Organizer

This week, Viva Learn students have been writing short stories. It’s nice to see how enthusiastic they are about this exercise. You can also try this fun writing activity at home with your kids.

Step 1: Pick a Topic

For this exercise, we encourage students to write about anything they like. However, we find that Scholastic Story Starters is a great tool to have on hand for coming up with story ideas.

Step 2: Plan the Story

A useful way for students to organize their thoughts and ideas before writing their story, is by using a graphic organizer. Remember, the more detail included in the organizer, the better the final product will be. We found a great organizer at working4theclassroom.blogspot.com. The image is also provided on this blog post.

Step 3: Write the Story

Once the organizer is completed, the writing can begin. Remember to use proper paragraph format. Review your child’s piece for grammar, spelling and flow.