Long summer days are full of fun and play. Swimming, riding bikes, summer camps, and sleepovers fill the weeks from May to August. During this time, research has shown that your child can lose up to 3 months worth of learning. Children can enter class in August with less knowledge than they had on the last day of school in May. Fortunately, parents can combat this so-called summer “brain drain” with a little effort and some planning.
Turn vacations into learning opportunities. Read books about the beach before heading to the shore. Watch online videos about the Battle of Gettysburg before making the trip to Pennsylvania. Research different types of rocks and wildlife as you plan your trip to the Grand Canyon. Make learning fun and relatable for your child.
Follow a book list. Check the local library for a reading list or a summer book club. Many libraries reward children for reading a set list of books during the summer. The website www.Scholastic.com has a summer reading challenge called Power Up and Read. It is free and will keep your child excited about books all summer long.
Build a treehouse. Combine outdoor fun with construction by building a treehouse, a table, a bench, or anything else that requires the discussion of measurements, safety, creativity, planning and budgeting. This hands-on learning activity can be very beneficial for children.
Write postcards. While on vacation, have your child write postcards to family and friends. This helps with handwriting practice and helps the child recall experiences from the trip. The small space is not overwhelming for children, yet is enough of a task to activate their brain.
Have kids cook dinner. Once a child is 10 or 11, have him be fully responsible for dinner one night. This involves planning the shopping list, setting the table, preparing the meal, deciding on the dinner conversation topic, and cleaning up afterward. This will challenge the child’s math, organization, and life skills.
Turn screen time into academic time. You child can learn how to build many things such as a zipline or a Nerf gun on the Make Magazine website, www.Makezine.com/kids. The Khan Academy website gives children the opportunity to earn badges and points as they watch videos on a variety of academic subjects.
Keep in mind that children need a break from rigorous academics. Allow them to be kids in the summer. We’re not talking about daily flashcard sessions or quizzes after vacations. The key is to keep children thinking, problem solving, and being creative throughout the summer months. Your child will benefit from it and teachers everywhere will thank you for it!
Ms. Elizabeth is our director and fully believes in providing each child an individualized education that allows freedom for creativity and imagination while still acquiring the necessary skills to be successful in the world.