Have you heard of the summer slide? We're not talking about that kid-favorite playground equipment. We're talking about when kids experience educational loss during the summer break, also known as the summer slide.
During the summer, kids can loose reading and math skills if they aren't practiced. When school starts back, teachers have to spend weeks re-teaching material that students have lost over the summer.
The dreaded summers slide can be prevented though! Here are some of our tips for preventing the summer slide.
- Read. A lot!
Reading daily during the summer helps prevent the summer slide. Make trips to the library part of your summer routine. We even made our own bookworm library bag! Help the kids pick a variety of books to keep them interested. Read them aloud and have them read to you too. (We like to have a quiet reading time after lunch, during the hottest part of the day.) Swap books with friends and neighbors or maybe even start a kids book club with book themed activities and snack. Most libraries have a summer reading program or you can create your own reading log to keep track of summer reading.
- Summer science.
While you're at the library, look for kid science activity books. Pinterest is also chock full of fun science activities that keep your kids engaged and thinking during the summer. You can find loads of easy at-home science activities that take simple kitchen supplies like making baking soda and vinegar volcanoes or building with toothpicks and jelly beans.
- Practice writing.
In our household, writing decreases during the summer for sure. I have to come up with some creative ways to keep the kids writing. Have a pen pal is always fun during the summer, especially if you go on vacation. Sending a post card is pretty cheap and fun. Writing a story or poem is a creative writing activity. Sometimes I start the story and have the kids trade off who writes a paragraph or 2 to see where the story leads. Even just keeping a summer journal is a good idea. We use some pages for pictures and gluing in post cards or stickers they collect, and some pages for writing their favorite activity that day.
- Cook with your kids.
Cooking is a great way to incorporate reading, math and fine motor skills all at the same time. Reading recipes, measuring spices and liquids, and counting out ingredients are all fun for kids. Plus, these are great life skills that don't feel like "school work". If you don't cook with your kids much, start with something simple and progress to something more complicated later. My kids love baking and frosting cupcakes for instance. But, you can see the pride all over their body when they learn something new, like the first time my daughter made dinner (with my guidance) for the family.
- Find a great summer camp.
Whether you send your kids to sleep-away camp for a week (or more) or just a few days of a day camp, summer camps are a good way to keep kids entertained. Social skills like sharing, taking turns and being polite are reinforced and many summer camps provide educational and fun activities for kids if you're a busy parent. There are often many different and fun types of camps to choose from if you really start digging.
I hope everyone is having a safe, educational and fun summer!