I hate to be the Debbie downer of your summer fun but the facts are the facts. According to the Children’s Aid Society, children lose on average 2 months of grade level equivalency in math and reading during the summer. That can cause serious issues when school starts back up. You don’t want your child to fall behind but you are not trying to audition for world’s biggest villain either. Destroying the fun of summer will not win you any admiration.
So what can you do to prevent summer learning loss without causing a mutiny and cries of Moooooooommmm you are soooooo not fair!!!
As a former teacher, I have some advice that will help stop summer learning loss without stopping the fun. It involves a little bit of trickery and a lot of coffee (for you not them) but it will work. Two for the price of one: these tips can also help combat boredom.
Sign up for the Summer Reading Program at your Local Library.
This program is free, fun, and your child gets to experience books they might not normally choose. Also included are special hands on learning events related to the theme. For instance this year our theme is “In your backyard” and one event includes an interactive meet n greet with local wildlife like turtles, lizards, and frogs.
Take Field Trips to Museums, Historic Sites, or Parks.
I like to research the places ahead of time and come up with a scavenger hunt. For my 4year old I keep it easy but for Miss Smarty Pants (she knows everything at 7) I make it challenging.
Play Board Games.
Bring back family game night and work in some learning while you are at it. From Candyland all the way to Scrabble and Yahtzee, there is a game for every age. Remember it’s not who wins or loses overly competitive parent… it’s about the learning.Just saying!
Embrace your Inner Chef.
Not only is this a great idea for learning moments it is also shown to have a positive effect on picky eaters. Dust off your cookbook or have the kids pick one out at the library and choose a recipe to try. I get my kids involved in every aspect of the meal. They help me shop for things at the grocery store where my youngest spots the colors and helps me count how many of each item we need. Once in the kitchen my oldest will help measure the ingredients and both of them like to taste test. I fully endorse licking the spoon!
Host a Quiz Bowl.
Everything is more fun as a game. Focus on areas they struggle with or let them choose the topic. My daughter loves to quiz me on math and spelling. Albeit early in the morning before I’ve had time to drink my coffee. If you mess up wink wink they love the idea of being able to correct you. Why is that?
10 Free Learning Websites:
- PBS Kids –learning games featuring your favorite characters from PBS.
- Math Manipulatives- Math Playground offers a variety of math games for older children
- National Geographic Kids – all the education you would expect of National Geographic but presented in a fun way
- Into The Book- Reading games for children and resources for teachers and parents. Offers tools for reading comprehension such as inferring, evaluating, questioning, and summarizing
- Fun brain – perfect for grades K-8th, offers math, reading, games, and more.
- Switcheroo Zoo- learn about geography, environment, and wildlife while creating your own animals and habitats.
- Seussville- learn alongside your favorite Dr. Seuss characters with games, activites, videos, and more
- Starfall- reading resources for children beginning to those who can read on their own
- ABCya- educational games for grades K-5th Grade
- Fun Brain- education games, books, and comics for PreSchool thru 8th Grade
Above all Make it Fun.
I don’t want to be chain to a desk reciting times tables any more than they do! We as parents are not out to ruin their summer vacations. They deserve a break from homework and the rigors of a classroom schedule. But they do still need to be engaging their minds. My hope is that these ideas will help you and your children have a productive and awesome summer vacation!