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10 Ways to Help Your Child Avoid the Summer Slide!
Is your child school aged and you’re worried about them forgetting what they learned this past year during their time of summer fun? Don’t worry, you’re not alone; a lot of parents worry about the summer slide, and I’m not talking about the one at the play ground!
Luckily, there are plenty of things we can do to help them avoid the summer slump and possibly even be further ahead before they reach the next grade at school!
Some of the ways below may work better for your child than others, so don’t give up if one of the ways below doesn’t work for you; there are plenty of other options!
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10+ Different Ways to Help Your Child Avoid the Summer Slide!
Read Everyday in the Summer
It doesn’t matter if they read to you, you read to them, or if they read silently in their bedroom; what matters is that they read everyday!
Go to the library every week and let them pick out a few new books to read.
Turn it into a challenge, maybe even offer an incentive at the end of the summer if they can check off that they read everyday. Or, better yet, see if you local library has a summer reading challenge and offers their own incentive!
It doesn’t really matter what they read, as long as they are getting the practice in.
Reading is one of the key elements in learning, and the more they do it, the better they’ll get. And, they can’t get very far in school without getting really good at this skill. So, nurture it while you can.
Encourage them to read, and help them find books they would actually be interested in reading; whether it’s comics, non-fiction or fiction books.
Give them Math Problems to Solve
Maybe it’s just my daughter, but she loves it when I print out math problems, either addition and subtraction or word problems, for her to solve. She’s in kindergarten.
I started doing this during the school year for her because she was so bored in math. The math homework she would bring home would literally take her about 2 minutes to complete (for the entire week) and was simply not challenging enough for her.
It’s not that difficult to find math problem worksheets online, either. Simply search in google or Pinterest for them based on the grade of math your child is in, or the grade above to make it a bit more challenging. Then print and hand to your child.
To make it more fun, you could time them. Or, make the problems up yourself to have your child solve.
However, some kids may not be so happy about doing math problems over the summer; in which case, keep reading for some other ways to sneak in some math!
Have them help you Bake or Cook
Believe it or not, having your child help you in the kitchen is a great way to help them avoid the summer slide!
Just think about it for a minute:
To bake or cook, they need to be able to read and follow directions. These two skills are vital for almost anything at school or in real life after school.
They also need to do math to measure out ingredients, especially if you have them doubling the recipe. This is probably the best (and most practical) way to teach kids how to add or multiply with fractions. They won’t only learn how to, but also why they need to learn it; one thing that most math classes miss the point on.
Having them learn to bake or cook is also a life skill that isn’t always taught that well in regular schools.
Take it one step further and teach them about nutrition, too!
*Check out Kids Cook Real Food and all of the resources they have to offer if you need help teaching your kids to cook or bake!
Go to a Museum
If your child isn’t big on reading or math, maybe they prefer learning about history or science, instead.
In that case, find a museum that’s not too far away and make a trip out of it!
See if there are any tours available to be apart of at the museum in the summer and go during that time. So you and your child(ren) can learn something new!
Honestly, I’m not big on going to museums, my husband is though. So, this would be a family trip for our household.
Just do what works best for you and your family. And, if your child says they are bored by the museum one year, it doesn’t mean they will always be bored of museums.
Go outside and explore nature
What is science, if not starting with observation.
Make sure your child has sunscreen on, then send them outdoors to explore and observe nature.
Hand them a notebook to write down their observations.
Have them answer the questions:
- What do they see?
And, any other observations they may make. The skill of being able to sit still and observe while the rest of the world goes around them will be one they can use their entire lives; for science, social situations, and more!
I still remember the first project I had in my intro bio class in college was to simply observe and record bees, and which flowers they went to. And, honestly, even little kids can do the same exact thing in their backyards (maybe not with bees, though)!
If they get really into observing nature and wanting to know even more; you could always take them to the library and check out a few books that will help them decipher what flower is what (all by themselves) and learn more about the wildlife in your area!
Challenge Them to Write a Book this Summer
Ok, maybe not a full book, maybe just a few short stories, like one a week or every couple of weeks.
But, anything that will get kids writing, and using the writing skills they learned this last year at school, is great for helping them avoid the summer slide when it comes to learning.
Get their little mind turning, let them use their imagination and write to their hearts desire.
And, with the way that technology is advancing; have them write their story out with pen(cil) and paper first, then type it up. Even if they’ve never used a keyboard or computer yet; it is in their future and no better time to teach them than right now!
If they’re still in the lower grades, like how my daughter is in kindergarten, and they can become proficient in typing on a keyboard; it’ll make life so much easier for them as they get older!
If you don’t have a spare computer (it’s alright, I don’t either; I’m currently using the spare computer because one of my kids spilled water on our good computer), just make sure you supervise them while using yours.
A few tips before you hand over the computer to help them improve their life and academic skills via computers:
- have your child sit at a table or desk with it
- no drinks
- no food
- have the desk or table completely clean off, wiped down, and dried
- teach them how to place their fingers on the keyboard
- make sure you can always see the screen
Other than the few rules above, the most important thing is to let them have fun and be creative with their stories!
Get them a Journal!
Whether it’s a gratitude journal, or just a plain notebook for them to write their thoughts down in before bed, or first thing in the morning; it doesn’t matter. Just like with writing a story, the point is to get them writing!
You could give them some writing prompts, such as:
- what was the best part of the day?
- how did you feel today? Do you know why?
- what could have made today better?
- what do you want to do today?
- how can you make tomorrow a better day?
- and so many more!
Or, you can simply have them figure out what to write in it themselves.
The more they write, the more they’ll learn how to write correctly; such as with spelling and grammar. They don’t need to write an essay; a couple of sentences a day should help them keep up their writing skills from the school year behind them.
Again, maybe it’s just my oldest daughter, but she loves these brainquest workbooks! Maybe that’s why she was so bored with math this past year; she’s been working on the year ahead for the past couple of summers. I’ll be starting her younger sister (who’s 3) on the Pre-K workbook this summer, too. We’ll see how that goes!
Get the one that your child will be able to do, but also one challenging enough to help them advance this summer, as well!
If workbooks aren’t exciting for your kids, don’t worry, there are plenty of other ‘real life’ things they can do to help them with their reading, writing, and math this summer; such as the next way to help prevent the summer slump!
Planning a Trip
Planning a trip, whether a real one or a dream trip, is a great way to improve many academic and ‘real life’ skills that your child should learn before leaving home!
First, they will have to figure out how to organize everything for planning a trip. This includes figuring out the best way to organize and plan for:
- what clothes everyone needs to bring (if the trip is longer than a day)
- what food they should bring (and which food will last), along with what to do when the food that is brought runs out
- how far the drive will be, or if going on a plane is necessary
- how many days they will have once they get to the location
- what and when to do different things on the trip (an itinerary)
- how much everything for the trip will cost (including gas, food, souvenirs, tickets, and more)
- a budget for each category they will need to spend money on (and make sure they don’t go over)
- and more!
Depending on your childs age and level of thinking, this trip planning activity can be as simple, or as complex, as needed.
For younger kids, start with the basics;
- where they want to go
- what they want to do
- who’s coming
- how long is the trip
- how much they think it will cost
You’ll need to help younger students more so than older ones. But, this isn’t something they will be learning in school, and it will help them in so many different ways!
Other than learning how to organize ideas, they will also be practicing their reading, writing, math, and possibly even geography skills!
Any other real life situation you can think of to get them reading, writing, doing math, observing, or otherwise getting them to think!
There are so many different ways to help your child keep what they learned fresh in their minds over the summer, or even improve their academic skills; I couldn’t possibly list them all here!
And, the best ways to help them is by giving them real life situations in which they need to use the skills they learned the year before. That way they won’t even realize that they are learning, they’ll think that they are just helping you out or having fun!
Some easy and fun ways to help them improve, or keep, their skills are by:
- making marshmallow and toothpick buildings (my girls love this)
- exploring nature
- going for a walk
- baking and cooking
- going grocery shopping with cash (have them keep track of how much everything in the cart costs)
- giving them a budget to go shopping (once the budget is gone, it’s gone)
- having them play games on the computer (such as typing games, or games that teach them how to use a computer- for little ones)
- play card games and board games
- have them create their own recipe or craft (writing clear directions and having an ingredient/material list included)(if learning a different language, have them write everything out in the other language and explain it to you)
- making a list of things they want to do this summer and then scheduling out when they will have time to do it (including writing out how long each thing should take)
- reading to a younger sibling
- teaching a younger sibling how to do something they learned this past year
- watching documentaries or educational shows (like The Magic School Bus, *hint* it’s on Netflix)
- finding a topic that they are interested in and learning as much as they can about it (have them create a report or diorama on it and teach you!)
Honestly, I could go on and on, but these ideas, along with the other ones above should give you a solid start at preventing the summer slide from happening in your household.
Simply put, just don’t let your kids turn into couch potatoes over the summer! Have them be a productive member of your household, and they’ll learn more than just academic skills; they’ll learn skills they’ll be using for the rest of their lives!