When school is out for the summer, that doesn’t mean that your child should go on a summer slide — the term used for kids falling behind in school because of summer vacation.
Studies have found that during the summer, most kids lose much of what they learned during the year, regressing about eight weeks in reading and math. That means it might be November before your child is back where she was when school let out!
But there are lots of ways to make sure your child keeps on learning all summer long:
Summer is the perfect time to dive into a good book. Even better, pick out a book series (ask the children’s librarian for suggestions), which is a great way to get kids to fall in love with reading and make it a habit. Also check out your local library for summer reading programs and contests — lots of kids find these fun and motivating.
Stretch those math muscles with games. Yahtzee is perfect for working on multiplication facts and reinforcing addition skills. Dominoes (where you score in multiples of five) helps with addition, multiplication, and division. Monopoly teaches counting, adding, and subtraction.
The write stuff: Have your child keep a journal of her summer, writing every day or every few days about what she’s been doing. If she doesn’t want to write, she can draw pictures and write just a few words about each one. To get her really excited about keeping a journal, let her pick one out (it can be as simple as a spiral-bound notebook you get at a drugstore) and design it in any way she’d like.
Turn off the video games when you’re on the road and play car games with the kids. Try the geography game: Kids name a place that begins with the last letter of the place someone else just named. After “Idaho”, for example, a child could say “Omaha,” “Ohio,” or “Orlando.” For younger spellers, you can play the same game using any words your child can think of.
Hit the road
Learning happens naturally on family field trips, and they don’t have to be anything fancy. Visit a local factory to see how products are made, or a museum to learn about art, history, or natural science. Check out a local zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.
Take the kids out to a ball game — a local team or a minor league team will do the trick. Teach them the rules of the game and talk about the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and practice . Bigger kids can keep track of player stats for a mental math workout.
Let the kids try their hand at cooking. Pick up a library cookbook geared to children, or get an ethnic cookbook to explore the food of other cultures. Have the kids measure out the ingredients, and try doubling the recipe to really get the math mind buzzing.