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Summer Bucket List BINGO!

An adventure for the whole family.

Summer learning loss, often called “the summer slide,” refers to the academic ground students lose while they’re away from school over the summer months and is especially prevelent in math and reading. You can help prevent summer learning loss in your school-aged children by making summer an adventure that requires reading, hiking, exploring, calculating, creating, and socializing. 

Some of the tips that contributed to the development of this ultimate summer bucket list include: 

  • Incorporate reading into your summer plans; kids should read at least four or five books over the summer months

  • Ensure your child gets plenty of physical activity through summer sports, adventures, and outdoor play

  • Consider educational applications and challenges to get your little one interested and excited

  • Include creative expression through arts and crafts, journaling, baking, or other creative endeavors

  • Involve the whole family to make learning feel like summer adventure

A summer bucket list can also help reduce screen time, improve or maintain physical fitness, promote better sleep at night, and help your child expel excess energy...outside the home!

Without further ado, the ultimate summer bucket list for school-aged kids in Boca Raton: 

  1. Visit the library. Public libraries like Boca Raton Public Library or Spanish River Library often offer free membership and a full schedule for school-aged children, from story time to scavenger hunts to visiting authors and more. A quick trip to the library can give your children time to explore and choose a book to take home; socialize with other children; engage in scheduled activities; and participate in educational play. 

  2. Run through the sprinklers. Running through the sprinklers is perhaps the easiest, most magical experience you can provide for your kids without ever leaving the house. Simply put on their swimsuits, grab a towel (and maybe a popsicle), and splash in the water when the sprinklers are on. It’s a great cool down and energy release!

  3. Start a journal. Journaling can help your children retain their reading and writing skills over the summer month and provide a great creative outlet. You can offer them daily prompts like “things you’re grateful for” or “a time you couldn’t stop laughing,” but give them the opportunity to use your prompt or journal about something else altogether if they’d like. Doodling is good, too!

  4. Visit Butterfly World. The Coconut Creek Conservatory offers birds, butterflies, and bugs - everything you need for a great adventure! Because it’s a relatively small park, it’s easy to get around with small children (and it’s a little quieter if you go right away in the morning).

  5. Build sand castles at Red Reef Park. Taking a swim, hunting for seashells, and building sand castles is your perfect to-do list for a hot summer day. If you’re looking for great playground equipment, try Sugar Sand Park on Military Trail - they have great equipment and scheduled events throughout the summer. 

  6. Play a board/card games. Schedule a family game night! Board games can support your children’s memory foundation and cognitive skills, reduce stress, and provide an opportunity for families to play and laugh together.

  7. Go on a scavenger hunt. Select a theme and head out with your little ones to find items in nature (or inside) to satisfy the rules. For example, you may say, “Today, we’re creating a rainbow, which means we need to find something red, something orange, something yellow…” If you have more than one child and their personalities are suitable, you can make it a competition.

  8. Have a picnic. Preparing a picnic and enjoying it together can provide a myriad of benefits. First, you can discuss with your child foods that nourish their body and challenge them to develop a picnic menu that’s both easy and nutritious. Then, after preparing and packing the picnic, you can venture out to select the perfect location, which promotes physical activity, increases exposure to nature, and sparks curiosity.

  9. Go hiking at Wakodahatchee Wetlands. With free admittance, Wahodahatchee Wetlands provides up-close and personal observation of a variety of wildlife: birds, iguanas, alligators, turtles, and more. Expect oooohs and ahhhhs as you walk the raised boardwalk, enjoy the sunshine, and observe animals in their natural habitat.

  10. Go camping in the backyard. Tent camping can be quite the to-do, especially when you get set up hours from home only to find you forgot your toothbrush or the fire starter, but backyard camping is the perfect compromise. Set up a tent, roast marshmallows, tell ghost stories...and step right inside when it starts raining or you’d like a hot shower.

  11. Bake cookies. Baking cookies is a great lesson in math while you work to calculate and measure your ingredients as well as patience while you do the hard work and await the reward at the end. Whenever possible, encourage your children to read and follow the recipe as independently as possible (and teach them to clean as they go - it’s a great habit for later!).

  12. Create sidewalk art. The perfect opportunity for creative expression without a mess! Encourage your children to share inspirational messages through their art to encourage and uplift your neighbors and visitors or give them specific challenges, like incorporating their favorite book or favorite animal into their art.

  13. Download a math app. The most significant summer slide is often in math as we have fewer opportunities to incorporate more complex math skills into our daily activities, but this is where applications and sites like Kahn Academy into play. Choose an age-appropriate math application and make it fun by encourage them to play in a fort, with a snack, or in speed-mode.

  14. Visit a farmer’s market. The bright colors, textures, and cultures that you’ll find at a farmer’s market are hard to beat. Admission is generally free and the experience is valuable for children of all ages. Encourage your children to recommend meals based on the produce and baked goods they see and ask them how they might be able to replace some less healthy snacks with fresh produce. 

  15. Host a paper-airplane race. Another rainy-day option! Pull out the craft bin and challenge your children to make and race their own paper airplanes. Consider paper (or popsicle) awards for the fastest, straightest-flying, or prettiest airplane to make it a little more fun to compete!

  16. Paint rocks. Rock painting and hiding is a new trend allowing for creative expression. You can find the Boca Raton Rocks and West Boca Rocks groups on Facebook, but here are the basics: buy or find smooth stones, paint them however you choose, and hide them in public places for others to find and either rehide or keep.

When developing your summer bucket list, be sure to include only items that are doable within your schedule and your budget so your list adds fun and challenge but never stress. Happy summer!

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