Summer is finally here! After a long year, it’s time for a well-deserved break for children and parents alike.
With nice weather and long, lazy days, it’s tempting to let your kids spend the whole summer playing and relaxing, with no semblance of a schedule or hint of education. But a nonacademic summer can cause kids to lose two whole months of learning — otherwise known as the “summer slide”.
What is summer learning loss?
“Summer slide” or learning loss is when kids return to school at a lower academic level than the end of the last school year. It happens when students take too much of an “all play and no work” approach to the summer vacation — going months without using new-found educational skills.
It’s estimated that kids have to spend about six weeks during a new term to make up for summer learning loss; time that could otherwise be spent making progress.
How to prevent summer learning loss
You can help your kid avoid summer learning loss by introducing some educational activities into their summer schedules. Don’t worry, you won’t need to chain your children to a desk for hours at a time! Experts say it only takes 2-3 hours of engaged work per week to prevent summer learning loss.
We know that it can be hard to convince your kids to do schoolwork during vacation time, but there are fun ways to integrate learning into regular summer activities. While it’s a good idea to focus on subjects you know your child has difficulty with, try to keep things varied to strengthen all areas of learning — and keep them engaged!
Activities that prevent summer learning loss and keep your kids engaged
Reading can be an effortless way to keep your kids engaged over summer vacation. Simply take them to the library and let them choose books they’ll be interested in (here are some suggestions for where to begin).
Even if your children aren’t naturally inclined to read for fun, there are ways to make the activity more appealing. For example, you can introduce a reward system where they get a treat for every book or 100 pages they read.
Take reading to the next level by downloading and printing our reading comprehension worksheets that encourage kids to dive into the text. We’ve got bundles for favorites including Harry Potter and Roald Dahl.
Doing a little reflection after finishing a book will help develop their fact-retaining skills, teach them to analyze what they read, and give them a deeper understanding of the story. If they really loved a book, you could even ask them to review it — here’s a template to get them started.
While it’s good to put a limit on screen time, there are some great games out there that’ll keep young minds active and engaged.
- There’s an excellent website called Scratch, developed by MIT, that introduces young kids to the concept of coding
- The app Bedtime Math aims to sharpen math skills in elementary kids, with a daily problem to be solved as part of your nighttime routine
- Duolingo is great for older children who want to learn a language
- And PBS kids has a ton of apps for kids of all ages!
Working on a project
A fun summer project will build cognitive skills and keep their minds active. If they’re interested in technology, you could buy a robot-building kit and work on it together. Even just constructing a LEGO set or working on a giant puzzle can be a great way to keep them developing.
Academic subjects aside, it’s also important to nurture your child’s creativity over the summer. You could buy them a blank journal and encourage them to use it for writing, drawing, or creating collages. Keep craft supplies on hand for when they tell you they’re bored. Supervised baking and cooking are also great creative outlets for kids of all ages.
Make a daily problem
Start each day by presenting your kids with their “daily problem”. This can be a math problem, a word puzzle, or a logic question — anything to get them thinking. You could even add conditions, like no screen time or ice cream until they’ve solved the puzzle!
It’s unlikely that your kids will be practicing their math skills in everyday life, so you’ll need to set some time aside to go over the topics they’ve learned in class. We have an extensive range of worksheet bundles for all ages and skill levels. Completing even one worksheet a week will go a long way in helping your kids retain vital information.
If you can, allocate a few days during summer vacation for field trips and head to the museum, zoo, or art gallery as a family. Most places will have some kind of educational program you could attend, whether it be a demonstration or a tour for kids. Or you could simply ask probing questions about what they’re seeing and learning — this will engage their critical thinking and enhance their experience.
If you’re unable to be there in-person, many institutions have online walkthroughs and kids’ programs that your children can benefit from.
Make your own summer camp
Got a little science whizz on your hands? Why not nurture that interest in your very own summer science camp?
You can build a curriculum of activities, with each day focusing on a different sub-topic. Use printable worksheets to learn the concepts, and then follow it up with DIY home experiments. On Monday, you can explore weather systems and then create a cloud in a jar. On Tuesday, learn about space and then make a mini water rocket. Wednesday can be all about astronomy, then take a trip to an area with low light pollution to see the stars.
The same can be done for art, math, English — any subject you can think of!
Make the most of summer!
Summer is about enjoying time off together, but it can also be used to get ahead — or at least to prevent them from dropping behind. KidsKonnect has plenty of resources to help your kids make the most of their summer vacation!
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Link will appear as How To Prevent Summer Learning Loss And Keep Your Kids Engaged All Year Round: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 26, 2020