Although school is out, learning should never stop. Studies show that many children experience learning loss during the summer months, a trend known as the “summer slide.” When children do not engage in educational activities during the summer months, they lose some of the skills they’ve gained during the school year.
In between family vacations and long summer days at the pool, how do we keep our kids climbing the academic ladder and off the summer slide? Here are a few strategies to keep the kids’ brains sharp during the summer months.
- Visit the library. Make trips to the library a regular part of your summer schedule. Read a few books together while you’re there and let the kids chose a stack of books to bring home. Attend storytime programs offered by the library and sign up for your library’s summer reading incentive program.
- Connect reading to family outings. If you’re visiting an aquarium or taking a trip to the beach this summer, pick up a few books about the ocean and sea animals. Going to a baseball game? Read books about famous baseball players. Before visiting the zoo, read books about a favorite animal.
- Read in different places. Take a book to the park. When the kids need a break from playing, offer a snack and a book while they rest. Bring a book to the pool to read during each ten minute adult swim break time.
- Read together. Choose a book to read as a family and read a chapter or two together each day. Read the book to your kids or take turns reading. Talk about the book as you read. Talk about the characters and what is happening in the story. Predict what will happen next.
- Cook together. Baking together can be great fun and the kids won’t even realize that they’re learning at the same time! There are plenty of math skills found in following recipes and measuring ingredients. Try halving or doubling a recipe for more math practice.
- Play a game or puzzle. Board games, card games and puzzles are both educational and fun, offering practice with skills such as following directions, problem solving, memory and strategic thinking. Little ones can practice number recognition, color and shape recognition and counting by playing games such as UNO or Candyland with the family. For little ones, connect the dot or paint/color by number activities can also strengthen number recognition skills. For older kids, Sudoku is a popular number placement puzzle that may be fun to try together. In addition to the educational benefits, playing games as a family is also a great way to spend intentional, uninterrupted time with your kids.
- Use educational apps. There are tons of educational apps available to strengthen kids’ math skills. Many offer math practice in the form of a fun math game.