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Tuesday, September 09, 2008
7 Ways to Teach Your Kids Outside of School

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By Grace Chen

Summer vacation has come to an end. Getting your children back into the swing of things can be hard, from getting them to wake up when the alarm clock rings to getting them to finish homework before bedtime. And, after a long break, their minds may not be as focused as you would like them to be.

Learning ExcursionsEducation for Kids Outside of School

Your favorite hangouts can be great learning experiences. All you need to do is incorporate fun into the learning process.

  1. The Zoo – Your local zoo is a great place to teach your kids about animals and habitats. Depending on your child’s age and learning level, you can discuss mammals vs. reptiles, different animal habitats, carnivores vs. herbivores, how coloring helps an animal to stand out or to hide, or even big versus small. Call your zoo ahead of time to see if they have any special educational areas that you can check out.

  2. Museums – Museums are immensely educational, and can be a learning experience for all ages. Art museums can prompt discussions on different styles of art or colors. History museums can delve into history in a hands-on fashion. Science museums allow for experimentation and discovery.

  3. The Pool/Beach –There are plenty of discoveries that can be made around water. You can discuss what makes things float and what things will sink, look at underwater habitats, and more.

  4. Parks – Hanging out at your local park can be a great way to study your own ecosystem. Take a nature hike and see what sorts of birds, animals, insects, and plant life you can identify.

  5. The Mall – Even the mall can be educational. While you are shopping for school clothes or going to lunch, it can be used as a discussion on budgeting, how to determine sales tax, or even making healthy meal choices using restaurant nutrition guides.

  6. The Library – Plan ahead for rainy afternoons or days that are too hot to spend much time outdoors. Trips to your local library can encourage a love for reading and an exploration of new and different ideas.

  7. Home – Having fun and learning does not always require trips out and about- you can also have a lot of fun and learning at home. Remember, while TV can be educational in its own right with the proper programming, summer activities should also require getting outside and moving around or activities that get the creative juices flowing.

For art, consider purchasing smocks and allowing children to paint, draw, color, and paste their own creations. This can be a great followup activity to visiting a local art museum or art fair and help to introduce color, patterns, and even more advanced art subjects.

For coordination, consider activities that require attention to detail, like a bead lacing maze, or those that challenge more gross motor skills like a bean bag toss. Balancing games can also be a great way to improve fine motor skills. Of course, a friendly game of tag or duck-duck-goose at your local playground will also encourage movement.

Remember to keep things fun, and your kids will be ready for tests and homework in no time at all!

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