School is out. No worries, no homework, no learning.
No learning? That can't be true! Think of all the learning your children experience during the summer. Swim lessons, safety and responsibility? What about riding a bike, baiting a hook, tying their shoes, and so many more skills that they will learn or have learned with you?
Just because the school is dark and the doors are closed doesn't mean that it's time to shut down our brains and learn nothing this summer. Summer is a great time to learn a new skill or hobby, and what better time to try something new than in the carefree days of summer?
Learning can be fun and exciting anytime, but in the summer you get to choose what you want to learn about. No curriculum, no tests, no pressure, just the joy of setting a goal and then working to obtain it.
What am I going to learn this summer? I'm learning how to garden. I'm sure there will be withered leaves and dead flowers along with my (hopefully) beautiful tomatoes and plentiful potatoes. Then there is organizing. I could use a lesson or two in that area! Eating healthier - I would love to learn more about that, too. Perhaps if that gardening goal works out, the eating better will go along with it? There are lots of other things I would love to learn as well, but I suspect I shouldn't try them all at once!
So what are you going to learn this summer? Here are a few books to get you and your kids started on the path to summer learning.
"Sir John Hargrave's Mischief Maker's Manual"
This book is a do-it-yourself guide to pranks and practical jokes. The book encourages young readers to follow the Prankster's Code, which includes always be careful, don't be a bully, do no lasting damage, and be funny. This book is great for the reluctant reader in your home. Be warned, some of the pranks may require clean-up!
"Girl's Gone Green" by Lynn Hirshfield
Girls will be inspired to go out and change the world while keeping the global environment in mind. Celebrities, such as Hayden Panettiere, Mischa Barton and Ellen Page, as well as everyday girls, teach that girl power is a force to be reckoned with as the reader learns about how others have made our world a greener place.
"DK Ready, Set, Grow"
Learn the basics of gardening. From sunlight to space considerations, this book will get young readers ready to start their own garden. The book also offers recycling opportunities, such as a scarecrow made of cans and fun activities like planting a cactus garden complete with action figures.
"C is for Cooking: Recipes from the Street"
This fun kid's cookbook from Sesame Workshop includes over 50 recipes for parents and kids to prepare together. There are also recipes for picky eaters as well as simple recipes that children can make on their own.
So don't take a summer off from learning. Stop in your local library or bookstore and pick up a few titles to get you started. Your local library also has free programs all year long for every age. Pick up a schedule and see what you can learn.
Lee Ann Cleary is the children's program director at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling.