When school gets out for summer, classes may end, but that doesn’t mean kids should stop learning. Research shows that over the summer, many kids experience “summer slide” where they lose around 2 months of progress in reading and math. While summer slide is a problem, it’s one that doesn’t necessarily have to occur.
Don’t worry, parents and caregivers don’t need to stock up on workbooks and flash cards for the summer months. Instead, you can help your children continue to use their skills in creative ways. Even just 15 minutes of learning a day can make a huge difference in preventing summer slide.
Here are a few ways to keep learning happening without ruining the magic of summer.
- Provide books that match your child’s interests.
One of the best ways to help children keep their reading skills strong is to ensure they have plenty of interesting books to read. Keep summer reading fun by focusing on topics your child likes. Even kids who don’t love to read can be encouraged to read if the subject is interesting enough. During the summer focus more on whether a book is enjoyable for your child than whether it is challenging.
- Use technology kids already enjoy to encourage learning.
Many kids would spend all day on electronic devices if they could. While kids shouldn’t spend all their waking hours looking at a screen, take advantage of this interest to encourage summer learning. There are plenty of apps that are both fun and educational to help keep skills sharp while school is out.
- Write letters to friends and family.
A great way to practice writing skills is to write letters to friends and family. It’s a good activity for a rainy day, and everyone looks forward to getting real letters in the mail.
- Have kids read instructions for their favourite activities.
Books aren’t the only way for children to practice their reading skills. They can also practice by reading the instructions for their favourite board games, recipes, or other activities. This lets kids use their reading skills in a practical way.
- Write a story.
Encourage creativity and writing skills by having your child make up a story. You can either encourage kids to create their own story or take turns having multiple people write different parts of the story. You’ll be surprised by what kids can come up with.
- Listen to audiobooks while traveling.
If you have any long drives to make this summer, listening to audiobooks is a great way to make the drive more enjoyable, and it also helps kids develop their comprehension skills. Your local library probably has a selection of audiobooks for kids.
- Play board games that require math skills.
Kids don’t need flashcards or worksheets to keep their math skills sharp over the summer. It’s much more fun to practice math with board games. Games like Monopoly, Sum Swamp, Hi Ho Cherry-O, and Monster Sock Factory let kids use math skills without even realizing it.
- Have your child use math to plan family events and outings.
Older children can use practical math skills over the summer. If you’re going to a museum, kids can figure out how much tickets will cost for everyone. If you’re having a cookout, kids can use math to decide how many packages of hamburger buns you’ll need. Depending on age and maturity, kids may be able to fully plan out some family events.
- Go to museums, parks, and other enriching environments.
Heading to a new environment can give your child a chance to learn during the summer. Many places have programs or materials aimed at engaging children. Even just heading to a new place for the afternoon and asking your child to talk about what they noticed can be a learning experience without needing any other prep on your part. As an added bonus, it’s a good way to make memories together as well.
- Try some simple at-home science experiments.
Science experiments are a great way to combine learning and fun. Classic at-home experiments like creating a tornado in a bottle are exciting while also being educational. Many science experiments can be done with materials you already have at home.
Summer learning shouldn’t be stressful for kids or adults. Children need a break from the formal classroom environment, but there are plenty of fun opportunities for them to continue using their skills in a different context.