Keep learning alive during the summer

A family vacation, a baseball game, a trip to the mall.  Any of these activities can become the basis for learning experiences for your child(ren) this summer.  And you as parents can help take the initiative to keep learning alive.  Here are some suggestions:

Baseball is a game based on numbers and statistics.  Children can keep track of their favorite major or minor league player and team statistics such as batting averages, earned run averages, and runs batted in.  Talk about comparisons of data between players and teams.  Explain how this data is calculated; you’ll use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Find an age-appropriate book about baseball or another sport for your child(ren) to read.

A family vacation can be used to teach children about geography, history, and culture.  Ask your child(ren) to find out about the places you’ll visit before taking the trip by doing research on the Internet.  During your trip, collect brochures for your child(ren) to read and to stimulate discussion after you’re home.

Children who have allowances or regular spending money can learn to budget.  Before a trip to the mall, ask your child(ren) to create a simple, two-column balance sheet listing “expenses” – the costs for anything your child(ren) plans to buy, compared to income – the money received as an allowance or in earnings for household jobs.  Talk about the importance of keeping expenses lower than income, and about the value of allocating some money for savings.

Look for other opportunities to stir curiosity and love of learning.  If you live near an Apple computer store, check out their special educational programs for kids and families; visit  Target sponsors free and reduced-price admission to arts programs and cultural events nationwide.  Contact your local store.  Find out what kind of summer activities will be offered by your local library.  Most libraries have lists of age-appropriate books for children.