Research has shown that most students risk some degree of learning loss in the summer months. But the end of a school year doesn’t have to mean that learning stops. The relatively unstructured days of summer are perfect for family activities and adventures that keep learning fresh and practice necessary developmental skills, all while having fun together.
Below are a few suggestions for some fun summer learning:
Develop and Practice Essential Skills. Summer provides great opportunities to teach kids important life skills, like how to read a recipe, sort laundry, tie their shoes, make a grocery list, load the dishwasher or write a letter. Being able to follow several steps in a process is an essential developmental skill that translates to success in school. Make a list of three new skills that your children could learn this summer, and challenge them to follow all the steps to success!
Read, Read, and Read. Kids lose an average of two months of reading skills over the summer, but there are many ways to prevent this by incorporating reading and writing into your summer plans. If you are traveling this summer, have your child help you plan the trip by researching the place you will visit, plot the trip on a map, and act as a tour guide by providing the family with fun facts along the way. Choose a read-aloud book that both you and your child will love, and read a little together each night. Stop along the way to predict what will happen next. Discuss the plot, unfamiliar words, and the choices the characters make. These reading comprehension strategies will make your child a stronger reader and provide some sweet “together time.”
Break out the Board Games and Puzzles. Board games and puzzles are excellent ways to develop critical thinking skills! Teach your kids those board games you loved as a kid, especially the ones that involve word or math skills. Pop some popcorn and break out Scrabble, Uno, Boggle, or Monopoly. For a fun twist, use the same game boards, but have your child make up new games and come up with new rules. Puzzles are also great for learning and practicing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, shape recognition, and patience. See how many puzzles the family can do in one summer!
Keeping brains engaged with summer learning will insure both a fun summer with your kids and a “brain boost” as they enter the new school year!
Laura Kelley is the Dean of Students for 3rd-5th Grade and a 5th Grade Teacher at Pinecrest Academy. She is also the mother of four Pinecrest graduates. Laura can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.