When school is out for summer, it’s easy to fall into rest and relaxation mode and let education go by the wayside. Being out of school for several months can cause students to lose important skills acquired during the previous year’s work. Fortunately, there are fun and easy ways you can combat this summer learning loss by taking an active interest in your child’s education and getting creative with teachable moments. Your kids will be having so much fun, they won’t even realize you’re brushing up on math skills or improving reading comprehension. Here are some tips to combat summer learning loss without making your children feel like they’re back in school over vacation.
- Use teachable moments in your everyday life. You don’t have to take time away from the fun summer plans to brush up on your child’s skills. A trip to a baseball game can turn into a math lesson when you calculate batting averages. A visit to the zoo can become a reading comprehension and science lesson – read all the animal placards and ask your child discussion questions. Read books and do puzzles together. Anything that keeps your kids’ brains engaged will make a positive impact on both their learning retention and your family bond.
- There’s an app for that. Kids love playing on computers and tablets, so they’ll probably be pleased when you encourage them to play games online. Of course, these games will also foster learning and reinforce math and reading skills, but your kids don’t have to know that. There are some fun apps available on iTunes like Quick Math Jr., which improves number recognition and counting. The Joy of Reading app promotes basic reading skills for kids ages 5 and under. A quick search on your phone will yield many results for educational games that your kids will enjoy playing.
- Use resources in your local community. Public libraries often have free summer reading programs that reward kids for the number of books read (or minutes read). These help kids set goals and earn rewards while brushing up on reading skills. There are also many summer camps dedicated to different aspects of learning (or a little bit of everything). Find a camp that suits your children’s interests to keep them engaged and learning.
- Encourage your child to keep a journal. As you experience your summer fun together, have your child sit down and write a paragraph or two with an accompanying picture to recap what you’ve done together. For younger children, have them dictate their entries to you, reading them together after you’ve written them. This reinforces writing skills and makes a fun memento to share with your child’s new class when summer is over.
- Make time for art. Summer art projects are not only fun and engaging, but they exercise the right hemisphere of your child’s brain. There are tons of arts and crafts ideas on Pinterest. Come up with a project of your own, or give your children art supplies and let them just create.
- Cook together. Cooking not only teaches your children a skill that is frequently neglected these days in formal education, it also teaches valuable lessons in math and science. Allow your child to help with age-appropriate food prep tasks. Follow a recipe together, show your child how to measure, talk about what happens to the food as it cooks. You can also teach kitchen safety. As an added bonus, children are much more likely to eat healthy fare that they’ve helped prepare, so getting them to finish their veggies will be an easier task when they’re your little sous-chefs.
At Sparkles! we integrate fun with learning all the time. Want to know how? Talk to your child’s teacher or a staff member. We’d be happy to discuss the curriculum and ideas to keep your child interested in learning all year round.