The majority of school children dreaded the pandemic. They couldn’t hang out with their friends. They had to attend school through online video conference calls. If adults found Zoom calls exhausting, it’s likely even more tiring for kids.

Fortunately, summer is just around the corner. And this means children are about to say goodbye to the school year 2020-2021. But there are concerns that they did not learn much during the year due to the drastic changes brought by the pandemic. As a result, schools are planning summer programs for kids. One survey found that 47 out of 100 school districts will offer summer courses.

The logic behind summer offerings is clear. But just because it makes sense doesn’t mean children should actually go to summer school. Besides, they’ve endured a lot during the pandemic’s first school year. They deserve a break.

Instead of summer school, students should engage in fun and recreational activities that will help them lift their spirits while still being productive. Here are some ideas:

Reading

Perhaps reading is too close to being in school. So kids might be hesitant to read anything during summer when they’re supposed to be on break. But it’s also important that parents raise a reader. Reading will help them develop their vocabulary and be better communicators. This activity will also encourage imagination and creativity.

Parents should let their children read whatever they want. This freedom to choose will prevent kids from feeling that they’re being forced to read. Parents might also consider reading to their kids at night, even just for a few minutes. This moment will also serve as a bonding time.

Board Games

Parents should let kids play board games. They can also buy new ones for their children to try.

Playing board games does have its benefits. For example, Scrabble and other word board games help children improve their vocabulary. Board games also challenge and sharpen children’s critical skills and improve their focus. Thus, playing board games not only keep kids entertained but also provide a learning experience.

kids playing with wooden blocks

Block and Puzzle Games

Parents should consider buying puzzles and builder sets for kids during summer. These games are not just fun to do but also teach children problem-solving. For example, kids need to figure out which parts of a puzzle should go where. Sharpening their problem-solving skills will help kids perform better academically.

Block and puzzle games also teach kids patience and perseverance. For example, completing a puzzle takes a lot of time. So children need to be patient to finish one. Also, finding puzzle pieces or blocks can be challenging, so they’ll learn to persevere until they find the right one.

Arts and Crafts

Kids should also engage in arts and crafts when they have the time. For instance, they can try coloring a few pages of a coloring book. They can also try paper mache, painting, origami, and creative journaling.

Arts and crafts can help children improve their fine motor skills. These activities also promote creativity and self-expression, which will help in maintaining children’s mental well-being.

Swimming

Summer is almost synonymous with swimming. If possible, kids should go swimming during summertime to feel refreshed. It’s also a great way to trick children into exercising since swimming is a form of exercise. And it can help them strengthen their muscles and maintain a healthy weight.

With the pandemic still present, parents and kids will have to be extra careful about going to public pools. They must observe social distancing with other people. And if possible, they should go to pools in an open space so that the area is well-ventilated, which can reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.

Camping

Parents should also consider camping outside with the whole family. It will be a great family bonding time. It will also put children closer to nature, which has several benefits on its own. For instance, exposure to nature can help kids relieve stress. And while they’re out, kids can walk around and explore nature. This activity will make them more curious and attentive.

Camping can encourage children to be active and take a break from their screens (especially if there’s no Wi-Fi at the camping site). Walking around and setting up a tent will make children burn some calories.

Summer school isn’t such a bad idea if children are willing to go and are not forced. But the better choice is still to let them take a break from school and engage in fun recreational activities that will help them relax, stay fit, and learn new skills.

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