School is out for summer! And the kids are ready for long days spent at camp, by the pool, or just doing nothing in front of a screen.
Wait? What? Doing nothing?
Have you heard of a little thing called “summer slide?”
Essentially, when kids do not engage in learning activities for an extended period of time, they lose knowledge. For example, if your kid had all the multiplication and division facts memorized on the last day of school, come September he might struggle to recall those facts. An on level reader might dip below grade level.
These are very real things that can happen over the summer.
And they are mostly preventable, with a little action on your part. So, help your kid stay sharp all summer long with a few quick, easy tips.
This one is almost too easy. Flash cards in all subjects are readily available at Dollar Tree, the $1 section at Target, and online.
All it takes is a few minutes a day. Run through 1/4 to 1/2 of a deck of the flash cards. Set aside any cards your child struggled on.
After you are done, go through these cards together. Look up the answers or review the content. These cards will form the backbone of your deck for tomorrow.
Repeat this daily. Alternate between different decks of cards every day, or switch it up weekly.
Hello, have you met my friend Pinterest? If not, you should check it out just for the science experiments.
Teachers and creative parents post hundreds of pins weekly devoted to fun, easy, at home science things you can do. Like cooking: try swapping one ingredient for another or doubling the recipe or changing the baking temperature.
A lot of these experiments, like vinegar volcanoes, are able to be done with a few staple pantry items. Your kids will always remember the summer they got to recreate Pompeii.
Even just going to the closest major city can be an education.
Try to take a different form of transportation. Reading timetables and figuring out which metro line to take uses math, logic, and directionality skills.
And cities usually have a ton of museums, historic sites, and other attractions. Pick a place you have never been. Go to a restaurant in a new part of town or that is from an unfamiliar culture. Or see a special exhibit at your favorite museum.
This is also amazingly easy. All it takes is a trip to your local library!
Libraries in (probably) every community sponsor summer reading programs. Your child will just be required to read a minimum number of books by the end of summer, and will be rewarded with a small prize. I’ve seen prizes like complimentary pizzas or yogurts at local spots to small toys to backpacks loaded with back to school supplies.
All it takes is a short period of time each day, like 15 minutes minimum. You can read with your child, read to your child, or your child can read alone or to the dog.
Seriously, just read!
This is my least favorite thing, but if it works for you then don’t rock the boat.
Try to get two different workbooks: one review of the grade your child just finished and one prep book for the next grade.
Sit down with your child and preview or review the materials on a regular basis. It’s important that you know where your child is in the workbooks, and run interference if any problems come up.
How will you keep your kids sharp this summer?