Summer Activities for Kids, and Avoiding the Idle Summer

For many parents, there is the common worry that their children become academically idle during the summer. So, they enroll them in summer computer camps, writing classes, and other “brain stimulating” activities. While the summer is a time for relaxation, keeping the brain agile and constantly learning can pay off for the future.

Young people today thrive on technology, and according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, teens spend more than 7 ½ hours consuming media per day on their cell phones, laptops, and tablets. While too much Facebook or Netflix may turn their brains to mush, there are also many educational apps on the market that can instead capture their attention, at least for a bit.

Preparing your child over the summer for the SAT is also a concern. The struggle to get your child to study, especially over vacation, in order to achieve that high SAT score is ongoing, however why not capitalize on teenagers’ love of apps for motivation? There are SAT prep apps, vocabulary building apps, even ones with pictures and games for kids, which are much more enjoyable than reading from a dictionary or paper flash cards. The beauty of apps is that they can be taken anywhere the phones go, and these educational apps can be an efficient mobile study tool. Even if the app is only used for 15 minutes a day on the bus, in the car or waiting in line, the idea of slowly studying over time has proved to be a more effective way to learn, but more importantly an excellent mode to retain the information.

This approach was introduced at Fieldstone Middle School in New Jersey in the form of a Vocabulary Summer Boot Camp.  The entering 8th grade students were tasked to self-study 15 to 20 minutes a day, and by the end of the summer, the students learned 500 SAT words.  Aside from building vocabulary for the SAT, Dr. Brian Chinni, the school’s Supervisor of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment said, “having a sizable vocabulary can help anyone communicate effectively, an essential skill both in school and in life.”

The summer before the SAT is a stressful time for everyone. However, it can’t hurt to add another tool to the tool belt. Take advantage of technology and the apps available. Reach the younger generation, and help your child to succeed and get a head start in the new school year.

For a list of 50 top educational apps that exemplify 21st century learning, check out this list of 50 new ways to learn as recommended by Terry Heick, Director of teachthought.com.


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