Let the Summer Learning Begin!

2945 Summer break is upon us, an opportunity for playdates, family vacations, swimming pools, ice cream cones, and backyard BBQs. All the makings for cherished childhood memories. However, to the horror of teachers’ and parents’ alike, the summer can also be a time when some of what was learned during the school year is lost. Additionally, each summer a child isn’t learning has a cumulative effect that has a long-term impact on a student’s overall performance in school. EEK!

How can you prevent the summer slide while giving your child a well-earned summer break? As with adults we all need some downtime, with few obligations and no educational expectations. So give your child a week or two to just enjoy summer bliss. As parents you’ll need time to adjust to the routine of a regimented school schedule, as you settle into the rhythm of summer.

Once everyone has had an opportunity to take a breath and unwind, then let the summer learning begin! No need to overthink it, keep it simple and incorporate learning opportunities into what you already have planned for the summer. The beauty is that learning can be fun and can happen anywhere.

10 Fun Learning Activities:

1. Journaling: Invest in a summer journal, with your child documenting their adventures along the way with pictures and written descriptions.2948

2. Plant a Garden: Talk about what plants need to survive, air, water, sunlight, and nutrients. How can you protect your garden from potential “predators”. Have children help with watering and enjoy the rewards of picking and eating homegrown vegetables and fruits.

3. Helping out Around the House: Check some tasks off the to do list with the assistance of a little helper. Paint the picket fence, wash the car, clean out a closet, etc.

4. Create a Family Tree: Educate your child about their family history and ancestry.

5. Get Outside and Explore: Connect outdoor learning to your child’s interests. Visit a nearby park or forest, go to a museum, or enjoy a day at the beach.

6. Take a Road Trip: Family road trip adventures will undoubtedly include destination spots that will be rich with learning opportunities. But the car ride itself can also be educational. Get out the road map and share insights about U.S. geography. Plot the path that your family will travel and share how many miles an inch on the map equals. Provide a chart listing numbers 1 to 100 (both numerals and written out). Look for road signs and during pit spots be on the lookout to find numbers to check off their list.

7. Get Cooking: To enhance reading, math, and science skills, pick-up a cookbook for kids with easy to follow step-by-step recipes. Getting an understanding of measurements, ingredients, and kitchen safety, are all valuable skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

8. Craft Time: Let a child’s creativity sore and provide materials so they can express themselves. Build a 2950 bird feeder, learn to knit, draw a masterpiece, or experiment with clay.

9. Get Theatrical: Dress-up and put on a theatrical performance or construct your very own puppet theater out of cardboard with constructed paper characters to your audience’s delight.

10. Reading: Last but certainly not least … READ, READ, READ! Take advantage of your local library and summer reading programs. Ask for help selecting books that match your child’s age, interests, and abilities. Continue to read daily to your child, helping to build listening skills, imagination, and increasing vocabulary. Get your child excited about reading by selecting books from the library or bookstore that are in alignment with their reading level. Students that read 20 minutes a day often score in the 90th percentile.

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MaryAnn Viviano, Chief Operations Officer, has been with Kidspace Children’s Museum since 2004. Prior experience includes working for the American Red Cross after receiving a BA in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin.