Between the end of one school year and the start of the next, every student risks summer learning loss. According to the National Summer Learning Association students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in reading and mathematical computation skills over the summer. For many, this statistic is incredibly worrisome. But, rest at ease, there are two simple words that can help prevent the ‘summer slide:’ enrichment and involvement.
Regardless of whether you have the ability to travel or can only stay on your local base or post, there are plenty of ways to stimulate your children to keep those brains pumping. Challenge yourself this summer by deciding to enrich your children so they can return to school without losing their academic footing.
Visit the library — Story time
If you have limited means of travel this summer, your best option is to take advantage of your surroundings. A family trip to the library is a wonderful source for many activities.Ramstein and Vogelweh libraries both offer story time for kids aged three to five at 10:30 a.m. Story time at Ramstein is every 2nd & 4th Wednesday and Vogelweh every 1st & 3rd Wednesday. Spaces are limited to the first 25 participants. For more information please call Ramstein 06371-47-6667 / Vogelweh 0631-536-7665.
Baumholder Library holds story time on different days depending on age. Baby story time (newborn to 18 month) is every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Toddler story time (18 month to 2 years) is every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Preschool story time (3 to 6 years) is every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. German story time (3 to 7 years) is the first Wednesday of the month, September to May at 3 p.m. For more information please call 0611-143-531-2841. Children will be introduced to reading and language while listening to songs, rhymes, and stories. You can also encourage your children to take turns reading to one another, write about and discuss the different choices of reading materials, as well as encouraging creativity to create their own stories.
Who doesn’t love field trips? All of these options are within a 1- to 1.5-hour drive of the KMC area. There are almost too many to choose from!
Located in Pirmasens, the Dynamikum science center offers nearly 160 exhibits for children to explore. The one time shoe factory now focuses on education, particularly in the area of motion. The museum encourages visitors to experience its eight divisions of friction, impulse, energy, research of natural motion, aspects of biological mechanics, and the power of the mind. The Dynamikum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
If you’ve already been to the Dynamikum, take a ride to Frankfurt for a visit at the EXPERIMINTA Science Center. With more than 120 experimental stations involving natural sciences, math, and information technology, children will be challenged to expand their minds. Experiminta offers various workshops for children ranging in age from 5-6, 7+, 8+, 8-10, 8-12, and 12+, children with parents, as well as parents, grandparents and adults! Hours of operation vary throughout the week. For more information, visit www.experiminta.de.
Open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and about an hour east of the KMC area, the Speyer Technik Museum will excite the technology lover. With a wide range of exhibits from wandering around an original jumbo jet to walking through Russian space shuttle BURAN, visitors can also see vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Unique to Speyer, the IMAX Dome movie theater offers patrons a movie experience out of this world! For more information, the IMAX schedule and museum information, visit www.speyer.technik-museum.de.
Visit the zoo
If you’re willing to drive an hour and a half, be sure to visit the Fasanerie Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Wiesbaden. Not only can guests see up to 50 types of animals but also the gardens allow visitors to explore the exotic and indigenous plant life in the meadows, woods, and water. Entrance is FREE and open every day from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.fasanerie.net/fasanerie.
With more than 4,500 animals and over 450 species, visitors will not be disappointed at Frankfurt Zoo. Throughout the year, the zoo has a wide range of programs that enriches its visitors’ experience. Tours are offered for all ages, including through the aquarium and reptile house known as the Exotarium. Individual tours can also be arranged to see your favorite animals and get answers to any questions you may have. Hours of operation are every day from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Check out their webpage at www.zoo-frankfurt.de for upcoming events before you plan your trip.
Need something a little sweeter?
Take a trip to Pirmasens Wawi World of Chocolate to experience up close how handcrafted chocolate is made. After watching the chocolatier make delicious confections, be sure to visit the chocolate museum! For tour information visit: www.wawi-group.de
Take it outside
Who says learning can’t be fun and good for your health? If you haven’t heard of Barefoot Park in Bad Sobernheim, keep reading! A favorite for kids of all ages, the barefoot path enables visitors to walk through clay, grass, sand, stones, and bark mulch.
Not sure how this relates to learning? The visit teaches kids, and you, how to strengthen and build muscles and ligaments in your feet and arches. The walk promotes posture improvement as well as blood circulation. Guests can also walk through the Nahe River depending on river depth. Hours of operation are every day from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.barfusspfad-bad-sobernheim.de.
How about a challenge to your logic and reasoning skills? The Fun Forest Abenteuer Park in Homburg is right up your alley. Covering two acres, this climbing park features easy and advanced climbing courses as well as a children’s course. When you’re ready for a break, be sure to take the zip line over the entire lake! Their newest addition, Pirate Island, is a course offering pure adrenaline with unique climbing elements and challenges. Non-climbers can enjoy a day on the water or take a stroll in the recreation area. Fun Forest is open Monday through Wednesday for groups of 15 or more people, Thu – Sun from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information, visit www.funforest.de.