School is out for summer!!!
The school year is drawing to an end and ‘lazy’ days of summer are closing in on us. While it is essential for kids to enjoy an opportunity to relax and experience unstructured days, it is important to remember that the “summer slide” is an inevitable reality. Finding a balance, by infusing learning opportunities into play, can help prevent, or at least lessen “the slide”. Following are some suggestions to keep your child on track so they will be confident and ready for the fall.
- Visit your local library. This is a FREE way to beat the heat. While there, check out the opportunity to join a book club, enjoy story time and of course, pick up some new summer reading books.
- Remember to encourage your child to read something every day. Opportunities to read are all around us. Have your child read the menu at the pool snack bar or the rules at the park. They can even read comic strips, something that they never have time for during the busy school year. Of course if you are lucky enough to have a child who loves to read classic novels, too much encouragement is probably not required. Just make sure a new book is always available.
- Develop weekly summer themes. This is something you and your child can do together. Incorporate reading, writing, and math activities around these themes to keep things interesting and exciting for your child. Reading Rockets has a variety of themes and activities you can chose from.
- How about taking a virtual field trip? Take a trip to Hershey ‘s Chocolate Factory, the Louvre, Climb Mt. Everest or go all the way to Outer Space from the comfort and convenience of your own home. Encourage your child to research the location you plan to visit and watch their field trip. They can even create their own travel guide.
- Take a family excursion. There are many fun and educational destinations in and around the tri-state are that are in driving distance. Visit a museum, a seaport or a park. Select a place the whole family can enjoy, regardless of age.
- Listen to audio books on the car ride there. Each child can have their own set of headphones so they can listen to age appropriate books, or find a book the entire family can enjoy, pausing for discussions or questions as you listen.
- Taking a break with technology is something all kids enjoy. How about these apps – Words with Friends, Brain Pop, or even Math Doodles to encourage reluctant kids to learn during their summer vacation.
- Have your child keep their writing skills sharp by sending letters to pen pals, keeping a summer journal, or creating a summer bucket list. Help them make a photo collage of a favorite activity or trip and then write captions. If your child likes to cook or bake, have then make their own recipe cards/book. Younger children can bring sidewalk chalk outside and practice writing number, letters or drawing shapes etc.
- Playing board games is a great way to have fun while learning. Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Boggle, Scattergories, Robot Turtles Game, Jenga, Telestrations and Clue are just some of the games that work on skills such as math, logic, patience, strategy, vocabulary building etc. Fractus Learning has an article that breaks down the benefits of these popular board games.
- Create a word jar to develop vocabulary. Make it a goal to practice new words each day and incorporate them into your conversations. You can have a contest to see who uses the most “word jar” words on a daily basis.
It’s important to keep in mind, that although your child has a summer break, you may not. It is understandable that it may be difficult to find the time to work/play with your child during these months. Just remember that learning can and should happen as part of their daily routine and many of these activities can be done around your work schedule.
Your goal is to help your child to continue to lean and grow during the summer months. You want them to feel confident when they return to school in the fall. You want them to be ready to take on all the wonderful learning that awaits them from the very first day back at school. Hey, who knows….Maybe the “slide” is not inevitable after all!!!
Embrace and enjoy the summer.