School’s out for summer in Oklahoma. Let the fun begin – but keep the brains engaged.
At Home Creations we know that it is a blessing to have the kids at home spending more quality time together. We have always built homes with families in mind, and in some of our communities we have added features such as playgrounds, pools and splash pads to make ours the most kid-friendly neighborhoods around.
But the parents among us also know that summertime can provide a long learning gap. The learning slide is not a figment of parental imagination, but a well-studied fact. A survey from the National Summer Learning Association confirmed that teachers spend a significant amount of time re-teaching material due to summer learning loss. The survey, which was based on answers from 500 teachers, found that 66% teachers have to spend three to four weeks re-teaching students course material at the beginning of the year, while 24% of teachers spend at least five to six weeks re-teaching material from the previous school year.
Summer should be fun, but we collected a few ideas of things to do at home or around the Oklahoma City metro area that promote learning.
Oklahoma Reading challenges
Many local libraries offer reading programs or reading challenges. Kids enjoy picking out a new book every week at the prospect of winning a price or a certificate of achievement. Contact your local library to find out about programs in Oklahoma City, Yukon, Mustang, Edmond, Norman or beyond.
Having a little patch of homegrown goodness in your backyard teaches kids about nutrition as they get to eat what they grow. They also learn about responsibility as they water and tend to the garden. For gardening ideas that work for the hot Oklahoma climate, click here.
The great outdoors
As many kids spent increasing amounts of time watching TV or playing video games, they are less likely to ride their bikes or rally some friends for an outdoor adventure. There is plenty of evidence showing the many benefits of nature on children’s psychological and physical well-being, including reduced stress, better physical health, more creativity and improved concentration. But nature is also a natural classroom as kids will learn about bugs, the circle of life and even physics as they play outdoors.
A good place to start in the metro is the Martin Park Nature Center which invites families to experience wildlife in a serene, suburban environment.
Oklahoma City and Norman, Okla., is rich on all kinds of museums, some of them are even free. From the Science Museum of Oklahoma to the Cowboy Hall of Fame, there is no shortage of cool places to learn something new in the metro area. The OU Fred Jones Museum of Art in Norman is free and offers many kid-friendly programs. You can get up close and personal with dinosaurs at the Sam Noble Museum in Norman, and do not forget the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole, Okla.
Check out the Oklahoma Museum Network for more ideas.
Volunteer/get a ‘job’
No, we are not suggesting child labor but there are many lessons to be learned from putting together a lemonade stand, helping around the house or volunteering at the local food bank. Even young kids can contribute, and usually love helping. These “jobs” involve math skills, simple economics and planning skills. And as a child, it is rewarding to spend your hard-earned cash on fun stuff like a day at the water park.