Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Tips to keep learning this summer

Today is National Summer Learning Day. I’m sure that news will go over with students about as well as the news of an impending Good Humor ice cream treat shortage.  But it turns out that summer learning doesn’t have to be boring. The National Summer Learning Institute offers these tips for helping your kids keep learning even when school is out:

  • Visit your local library. Check out books from your local library and set aside time every day to read to or with your child. Participate in a free, age-appropriate library summer program.
  • The “write” stuff. Encourage your child to keep a journal about the books they are reading, their favorite summer events or activities, and the new friends they’ve made.
  • Take advantage of free or low-cost local activities. Take educational trips to your local museum, zoo, park, or nature center. Encourage kids to write about their trip and what they thought about it.
  • Plan and plant a garden. Include your child in your gardening. Decide where to plant, measure the perimeter, visit your local nursery, and let your child help choose plants that will best suit your planned garden, along with supplies.
  • Use counting skills in every day activities and errands. Baking a cake? Let your child help count out the number of cups of flour and tablespoons of oil, or how many minutes to mix the batter.
  • Do good together. Volunteer in your community and bring your child along. Whether it’s cleaning up a local park or collecting supplies for your local animal shelter, volunteering with your children today will turn them into future volunteers.
  • Get active. Children are at a higher risk of weight gain during the summer than the school year. Get out with your child. Take a nature hike, play soccer or go for a swim at your community pool.
  • Encourage creativity. Have your child write a “5 minute haiku” about something they saw while on a nature hike or a visit to the museum. A haiku is a Japanese poem written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.