Summer is right around the corner and now is the time to start thinking about that infamous summer slide. We hate to break it to you, but summer learning loss is a very real thing. In fact, John’s Hopkins published a research article on this exact topic. We appreciate the compelling research they put forth and it only further ignites our passion to help children stay sharp and academically engaged throughout the summer.
Summer is a great time for activities and creativity, but for some kids, having no structure to the days means boredom and getting into trouble. It’s important to find out what your child is interested in and help them create a schedule of sorts for the summer months.
While you don’t have to fill every day with an activity, there are several simple ways to give your child a fun summer while keeping them safe and happy. Here are a few of the best.
Start a Project
Most kids have some sort of creative spark, so help them find and cultivate it this summer. Whether they enjoy drawing, singing, or photography, there are many ways for your child to express himself. Create a project with him that he can work on all summer, such as taking photographs every day to create a scrapbook before school starts, or teach your child how to bake. Encourage him to document his summer journey to share with friends and family.
Share a Passion
Find ways to bond with your child that will allow her to have fun at the same time. Join a sports team together, or learn a new language with an app like Duolingo. You can also volunteer with your child and feed the homeless, or work with an organization like Habitat For Humanity to help build homes for the less fortunate.
Time to Learn
Speaking of learning something new, summer provides a great time for your child to discover other areas of interest. Whether it’s through camp (like soccer, art, theater, or robotics) or private lessons (like chess, foreign language, or swimming) your child can have fun and get a chance to learn something that can become a lifelong hobby or activity.
One of the best things about summer is that it’s easy to find things to do outdoors. Let your child’s adventurous spirit shine through and allow him to explore a bit. Go for a walk at a park and have him find interesting rocks or leaves. Look for ladybugs or fireflies. Create your own fun outside with water balloons, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles.
Start New Traditions
One way to get kids away from the television and engaged is to try new things. Have a “carpet picnic” for dinner one night on an old blanket rather than sitting at the kitchen table. Find an old drive-in and catch a movie. Check out unique local shops and restaurants. You can even have a family game night once a week.
Do Random Acts of Kindness
Think of some ways you can be kind to your community. You might build your own “little free library” full of books for the neighborhood to share, or hand out wildflower seeds to your child’s friends and encourage them to plant flowers to save the bee population. You can think on a smaller, more personal scale, as well; hide a couple of dollars behind some toys at the dollar store as a nice surprise for the next child who comes along, or pay for the car behind you in line at the drive-thru. These random acts of kindness can become a sort of project for you and your child and will help teach them to be thoughtful toward others.
Make it a point to put away all things technological for a day and let your child see what it’s like to live without television, a microwave, and a smartphone. While it may sound like torture, it may help your child use his imagination more, get creative and active, and find ways to entertain himself rather than relying on a screen. You can take it one step further and make dinner from scratch, and ask your child to help you.
Remember, you don’t have to schedule the entire summer. Find small ways to make a big difference in your child’s summer and help them have fun while they’re learning and staying engaged.
Written by Laura Pearson
The game of chess, long considered a game for elite intellectuals or older individuals, has recently seen a resurgence among younger students. Chess lessons and clubs are now ubiquitous throughout many NYC elementary and secondary schools. Chess At Three, has revolutionized the game of chess, now teaching chess to children as young as THREE years old. Teaching children chess at the preschool level helps propel them ahead of the curve, so they are confident in the game and equipped to participate and even compete when they get older.
Beyond that, there is copious research to support the many cognitive benefits that stem from learning the game of chess, such as strengthened academic performance, improved test scores, increased IQs and enhanced arithmetic skills and critical thinking.
Why Chess at Three?
Moreover, learning how to play chess instills confidence within a child and even boosts their emotional intelligence. As our founder, Tyler Schwartz, has said, “With Chess At Three’s curriculum, we pay attention to the unexpected benefit of emotional intelligence from chess. Children will have to deal with the elation of winning and the disappointment of losing, sometimes for the first time.”
We Are The Authority in Early Childhood Chess
Chess At Three is the authority in early childhood chess. We understand the profound benefits of chess and the effectiveness of learning through storytelling. Our mission is to extend the benefits of chess through the power of storytelling. We create an unforgettable and interactive learning environment which teaches 100% of our children, as young as the age of three, to play and fall in love with chess.
A typical Chess at Three lesson teaches children much more than the rudimentary rules of chess. In an era of “everybody wins a trophy” many kids struggle with learning how to graciously win and lose. Our Chess at Three kids learn the importance of sportsmanship and they honor one another with a handshake at the end of each game. We also teach kids chess history and math, and our Certified Storytellers (aka “chess tutors”) even help kids get their wiggles out with physical movements (“chessercizes”).
Chess at Three is now being taught in preschool curriculum around the country, reaching as many as 14,000 children each week. Help your child get ahead through the many benefits of learning chess at a young age. Call us to schedule your first chess lesson TODAY! (844)-692-2437
Listen to WCBS Radio's feature on Tyler Schwartz and Chess at Three using the player below.
Tyler Schwartz was more than 3 years old when it started for him.
“I started playing in college because I was going to study with someone from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and someone told me that all the guys in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra love chess,” he told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman one afternoon recently as they sat in toddler-sized chairs on opposite sides of an adult chess board. “So I figured I’d learn the game so if it came up, I could at least talk about it.”
Schwartz found a chess club in the Village and within a few years was playing in competitive tournaments at night. As his passion for the game grew, one day came a call asking if he’d be interested in teaching chess to preschoolers.
He figured Google might give him some insight into how to help children so young comprehend such a heady game.
“But there was just nothing out there,” he told Silverman.
On his first day, Schwartz had seven classes in a row.
“I went into the first class and I said, ‘hey everyone, this is the king, he moves one square at a time,’ and the kids all asked, ‘Why?’ So I said, ‘it’s kind of just one of the rules,'” he said.
You can imagine the blank stares.
By the seventh class, Schwartz was beginning to get frustrated.
“(But when the kids asked) ‘Why?’ I said, ‘because he has a huge belly,’ just out of pure instinct. And the kids were like, ‘What?'” he said.
The lightbulb came on.
“I said, ‘he had pancakes for breakfast, 10 pancakes.’ And I asked the children, ‘If you had a belly that big, would you walk fast or slow?'” he said.
When Schwartz put the king on the board and asked the kids how he should move, the answer was, remarkably, a single space at a time.
When the complex, thinking-person’s game of chess becomes as simple as story time, Schwartz said there’s no need to be a grand master to teach it. Some of Chess At Three’s 50 instructors are actors and stand-up comedians.
“The environment is so creative,” said Rebekah Melocik, who’s a musical theater lyricist when she’s not teaching at the club on Madison Avenue. “They encourage you to really make every lesson your own.”
“They’re kind of unknowingly going into this mental gym,” said Schwartz. “They just think it’s fun, it’s silly. They we play this game and they don’t know they’re doing these really difficult calculations and predictions.”
Now that he’s licensing his curriculum to preschools around the country, Schwartz and Chess At Three reach as many as 14,000 children a week.
“You really get to connect one-on-one,” said Melocik, as she prepared to teach three boisterous boys, Max, Ben and Charlie, an afternoon lesson. “I feel like of any job I’ve had in my adult life, this one you really have to show up for, you can’t phone it in.”
And it’s easy to see how they learn about far more than just chess.
“If a 4-year-old really loves chess and he loses a game, he’s going to be really upset,” said Schwartz. “Trying to get that child to shake hands and say, ‘good game,’ is the most difficult thing we can do. So we have a five-week story about how it’s important to shake hands even after you lose and even if you feel rotten.”
If you are raising young children in New York City, you likely know the pressure surrounding school admissions all too well. Getting into private NYC preschools and elementary schools is often touted as equally or more competitive than admissions to Ivy League universities. There are many factors at play contributing to this notoriously competitive process, but one well-known catalyst is the New York baby boom. Census figures demonstrate the high increase in young children living in Manhattan. With NYC’s rapidly growing population of youngsters, it has become even more challenging to secure a spot in the city’s best private preschools and elementary schools.