“Brain Drain” is a common term but, if you are not familar with the term; it simply means when children loose knowledge over the summer break. Parents for years have struggled with how to help their children retain the knowledge they gained over the previous year and to maybe begin to work on skills they will learn in their next school year. Most parents are not educators so, short of hiring tutors or fighting with their children to complete workbook sheets over the summer, parents may not know what to do.
The answer is simple – make the learning interactive. Have the children do something they will enjoy with their knowledge. Expose your child to as many types of learning as possible. Not all of the following suggestions are hard on the family budget either! Who knows the spark you place in your child this summer may become an inferno of passion in a subject!
Harford County Public Library – The library is a wealth of possibilities for children and families looking for fun and inexpensive educational experiences. Try investigating the programs the HCPL will be offering for all age groups througout the county. Drop in for story times with the younger children, sign you child up for the summer reading program starting June 13th. Have a Harry Potter fan – check out the program scheduled for July at the Aberdeen Branch!
Anita C. Leight Estuary Center – As part of the Harford County Department of Rec and Parks, their mission is to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of estuarine ecosystems through research, monitoring, and education. As one of the few remaining large freshwater tidal marshes in the upper Chesapeake Bay accessible to the public, Otter Point Creek is a shallow tributary located at the headwaters of the Bush River in southern Harford County, MD. Visit their website for a full list of their jammed packed summer activities including canoeing, kayaking, pontoon boating, crafts, hiking, education, animal encounters, and research.
Cook with Your Children – Dust of the recipe book or lookup a new recipe online. Get inspired by watching a cooking show with your child on TV. Then prepare a shopping list with your child. You can practice money identification or budgeting with your child while shopping. While preparing the recipe you can work on fractions and conversions if you need to do so. You can also try to cook a dish from another culture. By involving your child you are allowing them to own their learning!
Maryland Zoo – Get your children involved in a cultural activity. Take a trip to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. If your kids are fans of the PBS Go program, Wild Kratts or the ever popular Zooboomafoo on PBS Sprout, they will be so excited to attend the special event with the Kratt Brothers on June 26th. The zoo also has great activity sheets online in their Education Section.
Walter’s Art Gallery – This is a free admissions location. You do need to pay for parking at one of local public parking garages or lots. The Walter’s has a full list of programs and events on their website to plan ahead for your family excursion. Before you go to the museum, check out the online game Waltee’s Quest with your children!
Reach Out to Your Religious Community – If your family is religious try your local church for their summer programs for children. The church may have camps, retreats or vacation bible school. These programs offer crafts, fun and fellowship. Children will learn about faith and ancestry in the context of history, as well as religious and spiritual concepts. Children who attend these programs will learn about faith, history, as well as religious and spiritual concepts in a curriculum approved by their particular faith.
Maryland Science Center – This is a great resource for a limited cost and there are tons of activities for families just look at their website under the heading events. Try the Davis Planetarium for exciting lessons on the stars and space. Take the info home to explore the stars in your neighborhood sky!
Get Techno with the Children – Use the Internet to explore learning concepts using safe websites for learning. Technology is an important part of education today and the modern world benefits from improvements made every day. You and your child have the ability to access information and satisfy their curiosity instantly and with the most up to date info possible! Take the time to create a question book. Have your child take a week or so to come up with questions they would like to have answered. Create a book yourself or purchase a fun notebook at the store. When they come up with a question, write the question on the top of a page. Use a page or so for each question. Then spend time researching the question together! Use the web search for answers to their questions or watch credible how-to or news videos. Try to recreate experiments at home! Also make sure to monitor your children’s activities to keep them smart and safe.
Great Educational Websites:
- PBS Sprout
- PBS Kids
- PBS Go
- Nick Jr.
- Disney Junior