You have worked hard setting up and keeping close to a routine to keep your child engaged and learning at home. Summers can feel long and after school days with homework can make you feel like a gerbil on a wheel. Unfortunately, just when you think you have it figured out, there is whining, push back, and complaining. Rather than give up, you just have to change it up.
While we all crave routine, we also thrive when we have a break from it and get to do something fun. Changing up the routine and materials may help keep those kids engaged – even in the summer!
Tips & Incentives to Keep Your Kids Engaged in Learning
These tips may even work to keep your kids engaged over the summer if your child has some catching up to do. Once school starts again in the fall and you need to inspire them during homework time, refer back here.
Moving, refocusing, and having fun helps get kids refocused quickly. Teachers and parents need a bag of tricks to keep the kids focused and productive learners. Try some of these out.
Treat jar & Incentives
Keep a treat jar on hand that contains favorite candy, small prizes, stickers, stamps, or special privileges or activities written on a slip of paper. Use what might work for your child. When your child accomplishes a task or set of tasks, give them a prize.
Use a motivational strategy called the if/then statement. If your child does the work, then they get to do a choice activity. Create a list that motivates your kiddo to get through their work. Teachers use classroom math manipulatives (cubes, bears, links, dominoes, counters, shapes, tiles), coloring books, ipads, art materials, a set up science experiment as choices they can work on when they are done with the required work. You could improvise on this idea using what you have at home.
Make Learning Fun to Keep Kids Engaged
When paper/pencil has gone stale and doesn’t work, trade it up. Do the same activity in another way. Try using a different tool. Write with a mechanical pencil, pen, marker, or other writing tool. Instead of working with letters or words on paper, use magnetic letters & a whiteboard or cookie tray. Make letters or numbers with playdoh, use shaving cream, paint them with watercolor paint. Use wipe off markers & a white board.
Use things that your child can manipulate with their hands. Ditch the technology. Make words, letters or numbers with legos, write them in shaving cream, build them with blocks. Solve story problems with action figures or stuffed animals. Use whatever topic you are learning and substitute your fun things at home that will demonstrate that learning.
Take a break from whatever is causing boredom and do a science experiment. Read how to do it, make a plan & try it out. Write about how to do it or what you learned.
Creations & Constructions
Building & creating with fun construction materials can support any form of learning. Rethink the toys and materials in your house. Dig out the Legos, blocks, Lincoln Logs and Magnetic Tiles. Look at everything with new eyes & think of ways to use them to accomplish the learning task.
Fidgety kids sometimes just need a movement break. Have them get up and run around the house. Exercise or dance. Act the learning out. Try out Go Noodle as a resource for fun ways to move and learn.
Take a Break
Kids sometimes just need a break. Allow your child to take a break, rest, play outside, blow some bubbles, explore outside, and come back to the focused learning later. The secret is knowing your child and what motivates.
Reading together is a relaxing and enjoyable break.
Don’t forget that reading to your kiddos is always a way of learning together! Check out my post on reading with your child, here.
The main thing to remember is that learning doesn’t need to stop when the school year ends and with the right approach, kids will embrace learning when introduced and continued in creative ways.