I don’t know about your kids, but mine aren’t the biggest fans of doing much educational stuff during the summer. I get it and if I asked my mom she would probably say it wouldn’t have been my favorite thing either. But, the summer slide is a real thing! I came across a great article from NWEA, the Northwest Evaluation Association – a not-for-profit organization that has been operating for over 40 years! In this article they discovered that kids moving from 3rd to 4th grade can lose up to 20% of their learning from the previous school year. This is especially true in subjects like math and reading! Other statistics say that by the time child reaches high school 2/3 of the reading achievement gap can be attributed to the summer slide. Forcing kids to do endless amounts of work isn’t the best way to combat this. While all kid’s go through periods of time where school isn’t their favorite, making a positive connection with learning, to me anyway, is important.
So, how do we make learning fun during the summer?
- Incorporate learning into everyday activities: This is an easy one! Baking keeps the brain working with reading, math and figuring out how to use the recipe. Plus, it also incorporates stuff like working together and ends with a fun dessert usually! Other ways we do it is countdowns to vacations, how many more days left to this activity or that activity. Using car time to do multiplication facts or reading license plates is also fun.
- READ READ READ: I can’t stress this enough! The saying that “Reading is fundamental” is probably the most true statement I’ve ever heard. It is the basis of of EVERYTHING! My oldest isn’t a huge reader, like my daughter or myself, that just means we spend a little more time looking for books he likes. My kids still have a quiet time, even my almost 13 year old. During that time they can take a cat nap, draw, read, build Legos or something like that. Its good for their brains and gets them calm. Reading for at least 20 minutes is a great place to start! Reading endurance is a huge part of learning and something your kids are probably hearing about in school as well.
- Simple workbooks – I love the Summer Bridge books because they help the kids work towards a goal, gets them ready school the next year AND are only one page (front and back a day). Its an achievable goal that doesn’t force the kids to do pages and pages of one subject, which might not be their favorite. Plus, my kids like it because it mixes things up, it isn’t just a bunch of one subject every day. We have been doing these bridge books since my oldest was in Kindergarten. They are $10 and you can get them in my Amazon store. They are a perfect price point!
- Visit your local library – If your kiddos don’t have a library card the summertime is a perfect time to get one! Libraries usually have more activities during the summer time as well as a summer reading program with prizes!! Visiting the library during the summer is easier for us, and my kids are at the age now where they love to sit and read at the library! Learning to use the library catalog to find books that interest them and then going on the hunt for them all by themselves. More learning!!!
While summertime is for having fun, vacations and being outside, keeping your brain working and active is important for starting school off on the right food come summer’s end.