Gift the JOY of Play…
Summer is an opportunity to keep those developing brains active! Many children suffer from summer brain drain or summer learning loss. Studies indicate that children can lose as much as two to three months of math and reading skills over the long summer break. It’s a real phenomenon and one behind the push for year-round school.
So your children are home from school for the summer – What do you do? Researchers and educators have many suggestions. If you take a vacation, have your children involved in all aspects of the trip like calculating the best vacation package deals, planning routes and reading maps, and helping with the overall vacation budget. These are excellent ways to incorporate learning into something fun. Library summer reading programs are excellent ways for children to maintain their reading skills and give them the chance to read books they want to read instead of what they are told to read.
Summer camps abound in our area, especially for children in the elementary school years. The focus of camps varies; some focus on sports, some on art, some on history, and some on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). From several hours to all day, summer camps can reap benefits for children that go beyond just giving them something to do.
Camp is a place where children can develop independence and confidence in their ability to do many different things. Children are given the opportunity both to learn that this world is made up of different kinds of people and to make friends with others they might not typically encounter in their communities.
Just as it’s important to keep young bodies active, it’s also important to keep young minds active. Summer enrichment camps can do just that. It offers our young ones chances to experience education and learning in a completely different manner, for the sheer joy of doing it. They are exploring and experimenting with things purely because they are curious, not because they are going to be graded. This alone is one of the most valuable tools we can give children. A toolbox complete with curiosity, initiative, and persistence will take any child anywhere they set their mind on going.
In DCMs STEM-based, hands-on summer camps we explore the worlds of chemistry, engineering, electricity, flight, and more. These camps provide children with opportunities to try new things, explore a variety of topics, discover their interests, and do things they don’t get to do anywhere else in a fun, non-traditional learning environment.
If we want our children to grow into adults interested in pursuing STEM fields, then we need to give them opportunities to have fun exploring these roles in their early years. Play is simply the best way to inspire children to become interested in learning about STEM. Who doesn’t want a chance to experiment and investigate with materials while learning STEM concepts and being challenged to actively, creatively, and cooperatively solve problems, or in other words, spend the day being an engineer?