Summer greetings! I hope that this newsletter finds you in the excitement of the possibilities of summer vacation. I know that you did not ask for my advice, but I would like to humbly offer some to you who will be enjoying summertime with children… especially gifted children! As a mom of five kids I think I may have some tips that will make your summer especially meaningful to you and yours no matter what their age.
My first piece of advice? Put a tight, short limit on the amount of device time allowed this summer. Believe it or not, it may take some practice to get out of the habit of “needing” this device time. However, they will thank you for it in the end. Kids may feel bound to their devices because their social life and entertainment is held within the technology. But if you limit the time allowed, your child will find other activities to fill that time. There is a certain amount of stress that comes with being “connected”. We all feel it! You can help your child by limiting the time. Their friends will quickly learn that they will not respond immediately, but they will respond. And the pressure is off your child for not responding because it is you setting the time limit.
After that free time is found, the sky’s the limit! There are educational and fun opportunities everywhere and you don’t have to spend a fortune. The library will be a great resource for research materials for projects, activities and vacation ideas.
At home, make sure that you have plenty of building materials at hand. Your kids may enjoy researching the types of birds in your area and the appropriate feeding stations and houses for them. They can design and build based on their research. Bees (Mason), butterflies and bats also appreciate handmade shelters. Science projects that use household materials are easy to create in the backyard or at the kitchen table. Make yogurt or cheese. Make a compost site and propagate red worms. Kite flying may seem like it’s become a lost leisure time activity, but I can tell you that when our kids flew their kites, the entire town took notice of the flying bi-plane, pirate ship, and skate boarder kites. It would even draw people in from the river and lakes to see the kiters. All ages of children will be thrilled by how spectacular model rockets look in the summer skies and the exercise that comes with chasing them down as they parachute to the ground is an added bonus. Giving your kids tree, plant and animal identification keys will entertain them for hours. Start a garden. Find a pen pal overseas. Buy a journal to record the summer. Make music. Read. Read. Read. Make sure that they have access to a fairly good microscope, magnifying glass and perhaps even a telescope. You never know when something might grab their attention and they’ll want to see it closer. Spend time in local lakes, ponds, marshes, parks, swamps, woodlands and prairies. Sit quietly and observe for 10 minutes (or more!) “Unplug” yourself as well and enjoy! The time spent “being” while you are there will refresh your soul and a new discovery may be made!
Vacations can offer different opportunities that you may not be able to find at home. Make sure that you check out things like:
The list goes on and on! Summer offers time for relaxation and learning opportunities. I hope that you can take some time to enjoy it with your children. It’s amazing what is out there… right outside your door… Your gifted children will appreciate you feeding and nurturing their voracious appetite for learning in a relaxed and peaceful summer setting. Pressure off for all of you!
We’d love to have you share your family’s summer ideas with us to be published in the July newsletter. Please send a list or a single item to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we might include it in the next newsletter. Like I said, you get the best ideas when you ask for them! Here’s to summer! Enjoy!