No summer camp this year? Experts at Virginia Tech provide tips for fun home learning

Children make experiments with paint and artificial snow(Getty Images/iStockphoto/unknown)

Many summer camps have been halted this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving parents scrambling for ideas on how to keep their children engaged.

Experts at Virginia Tech are helping with ideas on how to make learning fun at home.

“Take things that they’re interested in and then figure out how can you make this interesting and fun,” said Erika Bonnett, a 4-H program development specialist with Virginia Tech.

Bonnett spoke during a recent “Tech on Tap” online community speaker series through the university. She recommended using a “do, reflect, apply” approach to learning.

“You do the activity, you experience it, you have a good time and then you process it, you talk about it, you talk about what happened during the activity, what worked, what didn’t work,” she said.

Virginia 4-H has launched an “at home activity template” program with more than two dozen online printable sheets with STEM, health and civic engagement activities for children and parents ranging from building a windmill to experimenting with magnets.

“It’s a great way to kind of walk through the process so you don’t feel like you have to be an expert at everything,” Bonnett said.

And parents don’t have to follow the instructions step-by-step. She said you can take the idea and run with it.

“You think about using that as a building block,” Bonnett said.
Jim Egenrieder, a research professor in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, also gave tips about how to help kids learn during the session.
He said it’s about intentional integration.
“When you think about doing something outside, like going on a hike or planting some things, you look for those technical concepts and highlight them as a group,” Egenrieder said.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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