Ricardo Gonzalez

Written by: 
Madeline Greene
Photography by: 
Gary Payne
Ricardo Gonzalez
Ricardo Gonzalez

How can you keep kids engaged in learning over the summer?

For many parents, keeping their children off the couch and engaged in learning is a year-round struggle -- and never more so than during summer vacation. Ricardo Gonzalez, assistant professor of teacher education and administration in the College of Education, has some tips for how to make sure your child learns during the summer months while also enjoying a much-needed break.

"Kids spend nine long months in school," Gonzalez says. "Focus on activities geared toward fun, and your kids will continue to learn."

Avoid the summer slump

  • Give kids structure during the day. Have things for them to do that are engaging and educational, but also let them have fun. Playing together helps them build necessary social skills.

Use technology to your advantage

  • Don't forget: Technology is a great tool for learning. Students can use their phones or tablets to tell stories through audio/video and photography, or virtually explore the world with tools like The New York Times VR.
  • Many online games teach math, reading and other subjects children learn while in school (examples include Khan Academy and Brainscape for secondary students, and BrainPOP Jr. and Epic! for elementary students).

Look for local programming

  • There are many programs that help kids stay engaged and advance their interests. City offerings, like those through Denton Parks and Recreation, include everything from skateboarding classes to chess clubs.
  • Look for workshops provided at local universities. For example, UNT offers weeklong courses for kids of all ages, ranging from music programs to robotics and app programming classes. Knowing your children's interests will allow you to provide them with meaningful educational experiences throughout the summer.

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