My dear readers, good morning from Lebanon. The summer vacation has officially started and having our kids occupied during the school break is fundamental. Numerous studies have shown that if children spend their summer not training their brain in any way, significant academic regression will be noted when schools start again in September. This is quite expected especially if the kids are left to be entertained through TV programs, simplistic smart phone games or other practices that don’t enhance their cognitive abilities.
Since we will be staying for a month in Lebanon, we usually spend the summers in the mountains. There, our children get the chance to explore nature with its beauty and exquisiteness. It is a healthy exposure which gives them the opportunity to learn about wilderness and its perfect functions. I thought of sharing with you some of the activities we usually do during our summer breaks, and I will also include other ideas that can be done during our stay in Lebanon.
Morning Academic Work:
Every morning, we make it point to have an hour of school work. We usually do some reading in both French and English and review some math concepts. This year we will try to focus more on the Arabic, as unfortunately and it annoys me to admit that the level given at their school is way too low compared to the level of Arabic provided in Lebanese schools. It is essential that we try to make our children preserve at least our language.
My boys dwell into a world of constructing and engineering as they happily indulge themselves in The Little Engineer’s program. We are lucky to have such a system where children discover their interests in engineering. (picture taken form LTE facebook page)
I usually register them along with their cousins in a football team, so they enjoy their time together while they release their energy and learn how to cooperate in a social sport.
In addition, we usually take them once per week to the pool where they can enjoy some splashing and fun times together.
Planning a family trip to visit a new country widens a child’s horizon and makes him/her learn through exploration about different cultures along with their food, lifestyle, habits, etcetera. In August, we will be going to Sicily and I will be telling you all about it later on, so stay tuned!
In case planning a family trip is difficult for whatever reasons, you can always play the role of a tourist in your own country. Lebanon is characterized by its unique mix of different cultures that have settled long times ago and left their marks as time passed by. Visiting museums, Roman Ruins, fortresses, the great Cedars, grottos, castles, etcetera can be all done as a family activity.
Many families register their children in summer camps, where children get the chance of meeting new friends and learn new things due to the multi activities provided. I personally prefer to have our activities with the family where my, children can benefit from the presence of their grandparents and enjoy them.
Every afternoon we take our children to a private mini farm where I have them explore nature and play with the animals, while I enjoy my time cherishing those peaceful and happy moments away from the busy and noisy city life.This exposure to nature is something we terribly miss during the school year, so we are lucky to have such a special opportunity.
I strongly believe in the importance of having my children learn to play a musical instrument. This summer I have talked them into trying to continue with their music lessons during the summer break. Luckily, I have a talented cousin who is ready to spend a half an hour with each one of them once a week. We will see if things will go as planned.
Here is a list of some interesting activities which we have tried and others which we are planning to do if we have enough time. We always try to find outdoor activities:
For an educational trip visit the The Silk Museum – Bsous (www.thesilkmuseum.com) and Gibran Museum – Bshari
For a Sunday lunch with family and friends ; Arnaoun Village – Batroun (www.arnaoonvillage.com)
Explore and learn about wild life at The Animal Encounter – Aley (www.animalencounter.org)
For a family get away ; La Maison de La Foret – Bkassine (www.lamaisondelaforet.net)
Explore a farmer’s life at Les Parcours de Saveur – Kfarshima (www.parcoursdessaveurs.com)
The Hidden Valley – Bzebdine (www.facebook.com/pages/Bzebdine-Hidden-Valley/111106495718398)
Jeita Grotto (www.jeitagrotto.com)
There are many more ideas that can be found on the website www.beirut.com and that might be of your interest.
I would really appreciate it if you can provide us with your feedback in case you have been to one of those suggested places.
Have a great summer vacation everyone.