12 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Mind Sharp This Summer
School’s out and many in-person summer camps are closed due to the ongoing pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that learning has to stop! In fact, summer vacation can be one of the best times for kids to learn, as they have more time to really explore their interests and dig deep into new topics. ‘Intellectual play’ is what summertime is all about!
This summer, we have 12 great ways for you to help your child keep their mind sharp and prevent the ‘summer slide,’ a loss of knowledge and thinking skills that often happens over summer vacation. With these activities, not only can your child keep their cognitive abilities honed, but they can also develop new skills! Many of the activities below can be done safely at home, but when venturing outside be sure to always practice safe social distancing
Now, read on for 12 great ways to help your child maintain and increase their smarts this summer!
- Visit a museum or library with your child.
As the country gradually moves toward opening back up again, many cities are allowing their museums to reopen. This could be a tech museum, art museum, or a natural history museum. Make connections between past and present: Discuss how artifacts from the past (for example, a dinosaur skeleton) are relevant to things we find in the world today.
Concerned about social distancing? Many museums, like the Louvre in Paris, allow you to take virtual tours! And through Google’s Arts and Culture Platform you can explore museums from around the country from the comfort of your own home!
Some libraries offer summer reading programs where kids can earn prizes for reading books. As with museums, many libraries are reopening and also offer the ability to check out e-books virtually. Take the opportunity to learn about critical, relevant topics like biodiversity, waste management, greenhouse gases, and conservation. Whatever you read with your child, studies show that reading with your child has many benefits.
2. Attend a virtual summer camp. Most in-person summer camps are cancelled for 2020 due to health concerns, but there are many great live online camp options from Galileo and Sylvan Learning for kids of all ages. Find a virtual camp focusing on STEM skills, and get your child continuing to learn and innovate all summer long!
3. Design Minecraft Skins. Kids love Minecraft, so chances are your child’s going to be wanting to immerse themselves in Minecraft this summer anyway. Designing Minecraft skins using Tynker’s Minecraft Skin Editor is an excellent way for your child to exercise their own creativity while they’re having a blast playing their favorite game.
4. Sign up for the FREE Tynker Summer Code Jam! Tynker Summer Code Jam is a skill-based coding competition featuring 8 weeks of exciting challenges to keep young minds sharp over the summer. Kids can show off their coding skills for the chance to win up to $10,000 in prizes! And it’s completely free and suitable for kids of all skill levels! Kids get the chance to exercise their creativity, keep their coding skills sharp, and win big while doing it. Learn more.
5. Do a science experiment! Even something simple like combining vinegar and baking soda provides the opportunity to discuss scientific principles, like forming and testing hypotheses and the nature of chemical reactions. For more scientific fun, check out interactive simulations, like this one about energy forms and changes, or this one about atomic interactions. Can your child build their own simulations with code in Tynker?
6. Learn about key programming concepts with unplugged activities! With our articles about algorithms, loops, and variables, you and your child can read about each concept and then practice by writing out routines, brushing their teeth and dancing, and writing pseudocode!
7. Blast off for adventure with NASA Moon 2 Mars. Explore space-themed coding adventures by Tynker in collaboration with NASA! Kids can design their own animated mission patch, imagine their life as an Artemis astronaut on the Lunar Gateway, take control of robotic rovers, and even create their own lunar habitat! All of these step-by-step tutorials teach kids about real-life NASA missions while strengthening their coding abilities!
8. Explore science and math through coding. Has your child ever wanted to learn more about the solar system or the ecological pyramid? Do they enjoy playing math games? Tynker’s Hour of Code activities empower kids to explore STEM concepts in a fun, imaginative way! Try our Multiplication Escape, Ocean Ecological Pyramid, Solar System model, and other interactive coding projects to unlock your child’s love for science and math.
9. Download the Tynker apps to learn on the go. Coding is a perfect way for kids to practice skills like critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. With Tynker and Tynker Junior, your kids can code wherever your summer adventures take you–whether you’re basking in the sun at the beach or relaxing at home! Download Tynker on the App Store for iPad or the Google Play Store if you have an Android tablet. You can download Tynker Junior on the App Store.
10. Create something amazing with your child! With the Everyone Can Create project guides from Apple, you and your child can draw beautiful pictures, take great photos, capture meaningful videos, create fun music, and write their own song lyrics. Summer is a great time to tap into your child’s creativity, and these guides can help!
11. Make a nature journal. Go for a walk in your neighborhood or in a park and bring notebooks and pencils along! With your child, draw pictures of nature items you observe along the way. These items could be as impressive as a hill or mountain or as small as a blade of grass! When you get home, check your sketches for any plants or animals (including insects) whose names you don’t know. See if you can identify them by looking them up online. Then discuss how these animals live and why they’re important in their ecosystem!
12. Discover career choices with Barbie! Did you know that Tynker offers free Barbie coding activities? Kids can explore six fun career paths, from robotics engineer to astronaut and more, all while learning how to code! Check out the You Can Be Anything course today!
Whether your child wants to practice existing cognitive skills or learn new ones, these 12 ways to keep their mind sharp are sure to help them have fun while learning this summer!
Coding is one summer learning activity you can take on-the-go or enjoy from the comfort of your home! Whatever your plans are this summer, be sure your child is learning key 21st century skills like problem-solving, collaboration, and critical thinking through coding!