Summer fever has hit our house and between movie nights, blasting music and video game tournaments, it can be challenging to really connect (and disconnect!) with my boys. I hear parents lament about this frequently: How do you get your kids to unplug from their devices and focus on the human interaction that helps develop their social skills, emotional intelligence, and kindness? Well, I have a few tricks my up sleeve!
Coffee/Ice Cream/Burger Date – With my kids, it sometimes takes some incentive to drop the remote and come with mom and dad on a device-less afternoon – and that incentive is usually delicious. Try taking your child on an unplugged treat date where the focus of conversation keeps them engaged. How would they like their friends to describe them? Why do they think it makes people nervous to speak in public? How would they make a new student feel welcome? Open-ended questions help your student to think critically and open up to you, their date!
The Mini Chef – One of the greatest science laboratories is right there in your home – the kitchen! Task your child to cook dinner for the family with a recipe of their choice. Set safety rules, decide on the number of servings and let them take the lead. Allow them to problem solve if they’re missing an ingredient, apply their fractions skills to modify measurements and watch how the food responds and changes to heat.
Library Trips – This may seem like an obvious choice, but there’s more than meets the eye! Challenge your kiddo to find a book using the Dewey Decimal System. How quickly can they do it? Find a rogue book lying around? Challenge them to return it to its rightful place using the system and some clues! Does it belong in non-fiction? What’s the author’s last name? Helping your student learn their way around a library will teach valuable skills for future research projects.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Get your child involved in making a difference by encouraging them to collect recyclables and bring them to Placer County’s Western Regional Sanitary Landfill. The Western Placer Waste Management Authority even gives educational tours so your student can learn how much goes into our landfill, how much never leaves and why being environmentally conscious is vital to our future. Schedule a tour to learn more about the impact of our carbon footprint by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have unique ideas for keeping your kids engaged and educated all summer long? Drop me a line with pics of your family’s summer fun at email@example.com.