Summer Learning Resources for Kids–Preventing the Summer Slide

Summer is here at last! Along with warm weather, trips to the beach or pool, cookouts, and July 4th celebrations, comes the “summer slide.”According to the National Summer Learning Association, there is a notable trend toward learning loss when students do not engage in educational opportunities during summer months. Thus, summer activities and programs are pivotal in preventing the summer slide.

Young students and those with disabilities may have an especially hard time transitioning from a structured school year to full-time vacation mode. Have a plan and get your child to play an active role in his or her learning. Start by sitting down with them and creating a summer “bucket list” of activities they would like to accomplish. Fill in the summer’s events on a calendar you can then post. Encourage your child to keep the activities educationally focused and of course, FUN!

When I was a classroom teacher, I often suggested the activity ideas below to parents looking for ways to keep their children academically engaged during the summer. I hope this list will help alleviate the dreaded, “I am bored!”

  • Read. All students can benefit from a trip to the local library. Many libraries even have free summer programs and offer online books.Perhaps start a family or neighborhood book club. Begin by having everyone in the group reading the same book and chatting about it.
  • Look for movie books. Encourage your child to read the books for these movie releases of favorite children’s titles and compare and contrast the book to the big screen version:The Hunger Games, The Harry Potter Series, Nancy Drew, The Lightning Thief.
  • Make day trips.Trips to local museums and/or art galleries.
  • Keep it local. Discuss healthy eating, visit a local farmers market, and try new foods.
  • Form friendships. Regularly scheduled play dates with friends can be a way to keep your child socially engaged during the summer months.
  • Volunteering. Animal shelters, food banks, and nonprofit organizations are often looking for a helping hand during the summer months.This experience is not only rewarding for personal and professional development, but gives your child an opportunity to meet new people.
  • Cook with your child.Cooking incorporatesimportant skills, such as measuring, calculating temperature, and keeping track of time. Cooking is also a fun way to have your child read directions and follow recipes.
  • Music.Create musical instruments from materials found around the house.
  • Art.Sign your child up for an art class or purchase art supplies for a homemade studio.
  • Start a new hobby. Have your child pick a new hobby to explore.
  • Write. Staple together pieces of plain paper, or take a trip to purchase a journal to encourage your child to write. Have them write an entry a day all summer long.
  • Exercise. Encourage your child to be active for at least one hour each day.Use a stopwatch to time their running, swimming, biking, or rope jumping.Then try to beat their time.At the end of the summer, have them graph the results.
  • Budgeting 101. Encourage your child to start saving money.On the last day of summer, count it, and use it toward a special purchase, such as back-to-school shopping.
  • Board Games. Playing board games is to teach lessons about taking turns, sportsmanship, and conversation skills.
  • Stay-cation. Set-up the backyard or patio like a campsite. Make a bonfire to make S’mores, go catch fireflies, and try to identify constellations in the night sky.
  • Tech-free Day Challenge. At least one day a week shut off the TV, tablet, iPhone, and/or iPad to encourage your child to communicate more and get in closer touch with the world around him or her.