Outside Summer Learning

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If you want to squeeze in a little learning even on vacation, here are three quick ways to hone observational or STEM skills, in the guise of simply having fun!

I was actually excited to wake up one vacation morning to a rainy day because I wanted Travis to observe… raindrops! Stand someplace protected with your child and watch them fall down. I asked Travis his guess as to what shape the droplets would make.

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His hypothesis was an oval, so I played devil’s advocate and guessed a circle. We decided they were more circular but some were larger in diameter than others. They also made neat beads on the screen doors. Throughout the day, we watched them make big puddles on the car sunroof, or diagonal streaks on the patio when the wind whipped harder.

If your budding scientist wants to, record any findings in a notebook using words or pictures!

The next day we had sunshine and squeezed in a quick mapping exercise, in the guise of a treasure hunt. Travis decorated a bag with seashell stickers (you could also use an old shoebox) and hid a few pieces of “pirate treasure” inside.

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Travis hid the treasure to be guarded by a sleepy gnome. Now, his job was to direct a family member to the booty using only three clues. I was so proud he devised these on his own: there was a dirt path, there were steps, and someone was sleeping nearby!

Finally, we returned to a classic sort of color hunt, but this time Travis had to spot five colors from inside the house first, and then find those same five colors outside. A huge art kit full of crayons was the inspiration. Outdoors he matched beige to a mushroom…

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…and vivid reds and purples to the flowers.

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There’s nothing like the palette of a vacation spot to inspire some learning!

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