BY MARNIE FORESTIERI
With summer just around the corner, it’s time for parents to start planning activities to keep kids occupied once school is out. While summer can be a reprieve from the hectic over-scheduled days of the school year, the slower pace can also result in boredom. During this time, children can become more dependent on TV, game consoles, or other electronic devices for entertainment.
Recent research has shown that a child’s brain can become wired differently when exposed to technology at early ages. Parents are becoming increasingly aware of the need to help children disconnect from technology.
Educators and psychologists recommend that instead of playing with screens, kids’ interaction with technology should be limited and parents should plan activities and experiences that can be done together or independently.
Involving your child in the decision process of selecting activities is a great opportunity to learn about his or her strengths and interests. Selecting summer activities could be the start of a family adventure. For example, consider visiting the locations of different summer camps with your child and allow your child to get involved in the process of choosing the activity or the provider. Help your child write some questions he would like to know prior to the visit. During the visit, allow your child to ask questions to the provider and then reflect together on the different options.
Another idea is to create a summer journal. Include a list of places to visit during the summer months and a wish list of things you would like to do together. Prior to a visit on the list, ask your child questions about what he or she knows about the place. Shortly after the visit, record things that you both learned and extend the learning with other questions that you would like to answer.
Whatever you choose, offering your child opportunities to benefit from unplugged play and learning will allow your child to become a lifelong learner.
Forestieri, CEO of Amazing Explorers Academy, is an educa- tion entrepreneur, teacher, au- thor and speaker on a mission: To inspire the next generation of innovators and prepare them for careers of the future. MarnieForestieri.com