Learning over the summer doesn’t have to be a drag for your children – it can actually be a lot of fun! In July and August, “vote” for learning by tapping into one of 2012’s biggest current news items.
Research shows that when students don’t engage in educational activities over the summer, “summer learning loss” can occur — meaning more time will be spent reviewing previously learned knowledge and concepts once school begins.
Educators at the Pennsylvania public cyber school Commonwealth Connections Academy suggest that parents looking to support summer learning in the home to develop a fun learning theme – like the upcoming presidential election – to help with planning and lend structure to activities. After all, politics and social studies don’t have to be a dreaded subject by even young students!
To get you started, here are 9 Election Education Activities to allow children to have fun while practicing math and English skills and learn about the United States’ democratic process at the same time.
1. Don’t argue, debate!–A light-hearted “formal” debate offers children the opportunity to analyze their opinions, organize thoughts, and speak in front of a group. Whether your family is debating whether or not to add a hamster or a puppy to the family, EducationWorld.com offers some great tips and ideas to get you started.
2. Walk the footsteps of our nation’s leaders – Take a day trip to local historical sites, government buildings, and, homes of past Presidents. Many offer guided tours and have historical documents and artifacts on display. Living in Philadelphia, I have the opportunity to visit where our nation first began! Visit the National Park Service’s National Historic Landmarks to scout out your local adventure.
3. Vote for… dinner!– “Nominate” two dinner choices and explain that you will hold an election to determine the winner. Make campaign posters, a ballot box, and paper ballots; count ballots to bring out math skills or introduce new vocabulary words such as nominate, election, and more.
4. Start (Electoral) College early – Older students will most certainly review the Electoral College in the fall. To learn more about this complex system, visit the National Archives and Records Administration’s page on the U.S. Electoral College. Students can even try predicting who will win the next presidential election with the Electoral College Calculator.
5. Climb the branches of government –Have your children research and create a visual representation of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government. Use reference materials or other online resources to gather facts.
6. Get presidential with poetry –Have children start with, “If I were President, I would…” and encourage them to fill in the rest with a paragraph or more (depending on the child’s age) about what they would strive for as President. Children can even send their thoughts to the President by visiting the White House website.
7. Learn about local officials – Have your child practice research skills and report writing when they write about a local official. You can also take a short trip to your state Senator and/or Representatives district office so your child can ask questions of their staff, and gather information.
8. Explore the free Election 2012 Activity Pack– Pearson is offering an interactive online resource that is with games, a student-friendly blog, historical facts, profiles of the candidates, and much more.
9. And, as always, read with your children–Libraries offer many children’s books about government, the election process, presidents, and more for parents and children to enjoy together. Check out titles like Duck for President and others on the U.S. Senate’s kid’s bookshelf – a great resource for books about how government works, the constitution, and more.
For more Summer Learning Tips, visit Connections Academy’s online newsroom and blog. Enrollment for Connections Academy virtual schools is going on now. To learn more visit www.ConnectionsAcademy.com.