School’s Out: Expand Your Child’s Possibilities this Summer


School's OutThis summer, take your family out to explore where you live.

We live in a great big world full of cultures, places, and people to see and meet.  Are we taking advantage of all that is around us?  The Multigrade Teacher’s Handbook, published by the United Nation International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) organization and other collaborators, states, “Children learn by doing, using their senses, exploring their environment of people, things, places and events.”

The more they experience the more they will understand the world.  As they experience new cultures and foods, they become accustomed to things different than they are used to.  They adjust and become more accepting.

Parents and guardians have an opportunity to lead and guide children to become all they are capable of — to help expand their knowledge by introducing new experiences and to nurture social awareness and open mindedness.  How can this be done?  Consider what is in your neighborhood, local communities and other distant places.

Try these ideas for a kick start to your summer:

  • Go puddle jumping.
  • Read a book as a family.
  • Make “thinking of you” cards for a neighbor.
  • Have a new culture-themed family dinner.
  • Garden and weed together.
  • Find a service project and participate in it.
  • Go through old photo albums and talk about relatives and experiences.
  • Try a new restaurant.
  • Visit local parks, especially those you haven’t been to.
  • Visit your local museums, zoos and art galleries.
  • Plan a road trip and make stops at different landmarks or national sites.
  • Plan a trip to a nursing home; share a talent, provide a manicure or just take time to talk with the residents.
  • Take pictures throughout the day of family members’ activities. Put them into an activities picture journal,
  • Take a trip to the state capitol and explore and discuss what happens there. If possible, take a moment to watch a legislative meeting. (They often have the calendar online.)
  • Attend plays, musicals and concerts. You can go to local school productions or professional events. There are often free concerts in the park during the summer. You can even make your own play at home with the family. Children can take turns performing, or you can get together with neighbors and close friends to allow children and their friends to put on a production for the parents and vice versa.

Children given many different experiences not only learn and grow, but become more competent and capable as well. The children’s book The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin is great to read with children and helps open the door to knowing what they can accomplish. (The following is an excerpt from the book.)

“This is the first time
There’s ever been you,
So I wonder what wonderful things
You will do.
Will you stand up for good
By saving the day?
Or play a song only you
Know how to play?
Will you tell a story
That only you know?
Will you learn what it means
To help things to grow?
Will you learn how to fly
To find the best view?
Or take care of things
Much smaller than you?
I know you’ll be kind and clever and bold.
And the bigger your heart,
The more it will hold…
Then you will discover
All there is to see
And become anybody
That you’d like to be.”

What will you do today to learn something new with your child?

This article was written by KJ Lamplugh, USU Extension FCS Program Assistant, Salt Lake County


Emily Winfield Martin (2015). The Wonderful Things You Will Be. United States: Random House Children’s Books

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