Although summer is more than halfway over for most school districts, there is still ample time to infuse fun and learning into your child’s days. Summer vacation can be a fun and memorable time for many children and families across the country. Often, families use summer weeks to plan family getaways, host reunions, spend evenings catching and releasing fireflies, participating in fun cookouts or just enjoying time together. However, the transition from the freedom of summer vacation back to a structured school environment can be a significant challenge for some children when they not have been exposed to enough learning opportunities over the summer months. Researchers have coined this experience the “Summer Slide” because over the summer children can lose up to 20% of the information and skills that they learned during the school year. Thus, the summer causes them to slide backward in their educational attainment. Thankfully, there are ways to help prevent this problem that does not have to break the bank.
Here are five affordable ways of fostering learning in children during the summer!
Read, read, read!
We have all heard that old adage that, ‘reading is fundamental.’ That saying is famous because it is true. Reading to your children and finding opportunities for them to read, helps them maintain their reading skills. Local libraries typically have summer activities aimed at supporting the reading skills of readers from all demographics.
Using daily activities to teach skills.
Cooking with your child is a great way to integrate multiple subject areas into a single event. Your child can build skills in math, reading, science, and social-emotional development by working with a responsible adult to follow a recipe.
Let’s face it, we lead busy lives and want our children to be safe while they are having fun. One way for that to occur is taking the reigns and scheduling playdates for them with their same-aged peers. You can help your child plan activities to do with their friends, which will increase their planning, problem-solving, and social skills while they practice hosting an event.
Create a project about family and cultural history.
Summer is a great time to reminisce and tell stories to children about your fond childhood memories. You could use this time to work with your child to create a project (e.g., visual, virtual, written, design a play or skit, etc.) to express what they learned about their family and their culture.
Support a community member in need.
Children learn from their environment and the people around them. Why not have your give back to their community to increase their sense of belonging, enhance their social skills, and give them an opportunity to learn something new. Perhaps your child would enjoy learning about gardening from an elderly neighbor. Your neighbor would receive gardening help from your child, while your child gains an appreciation and knowledge about raising healthy plants.
Regardless of the ways that incorporate learning into the remainder of your child’s summer, remember to make sure that the learning is fun. When learning is fun, children don’t even realize that they are gaining and maintaining skills.