Hello summer time! We are all so thankful to welcome in one of the best seasons of the year. But are you ready to keep your kids on track academically and prevent the summer brain drain? Brain drain is when our kids have a loss of learning. Most students score much lower on a standardized test at the end of the summer verses at the beginning. And brain drain? It can put them behind as much as two months when the next school year begins, which can make it hard to catch back up. So what can we do to prevent it? Here are our ideas of how to keep the learning going – and the fun too:
Get in the Kitchen
It’s easy to take for granted the educational benefits of making a meal. Everything from reading the directions, practicing fine motor skills scooping and measuring, adding, fractions when calculating measurements and following the steps in the right order – the list is endless. And having a delicious result of all that hard work is just the icing on the cake – literally!
For older kids, planning a meal start to finish including the shopping is a great lesson in organization and budgeting in addition to all the other parts. Not to mention that it gives them a great insight into all the work you as their parents put in every day!
Create a Book Club
This is a great idea for all ages and it has a lot of flexibility. For young readers, choose a time of day to “meet”. During that time – it can be as quick as 15 minutes – everyone stops what they’re doing and picks up a book. Parents or older siblings read to younger ones, or everyone grabs their own book to read. Or choose a chapter book to read together. There’s no wrong way to structure it, just open a book and read, that’s it! Check the children’s section of your local library for summer reading fun too. Many libraries offer programs for kids to track their reading in a fun way.
Did you know that reading just four books over summer vacation can prevent learning loss. And reading six or more books can put your child at an advantage going into the next school year. Six! That’s a goal we can all work with!
Put down those tablets, laptops, phones, TVs – anything with a cord – and play. All children need physical activity, but our youngest kids get so much more than just play time out of it. Playing gives kids time to develop their social skills in addition to strengthening their imaginations. If your kids are stumped, give them a few ideas like creating a restaurant, an airplane ride or a store. They can write and act out a play to perform for friends and family – or an audience of stuffed animals. Anything goes as long as they are using their imaginations.
And Power Up!
Make time with electronics do double duty by choosing educational games to play. Prodigy Math and XtraMath are fun ways to practice math skills to play a game. Bookopolis and BiblioNasium offer fun ways to read and share reviews (hello practicing writing skills!). PBSKids offers free and easy educational games for younger children that allow them to hone their computer skills as well as reading, math and organizational skills too – and all with their favorite TV characters.
Write It Down
Who doesn’t love getting a handwritten letter? There are so many opportunities for kids to write; they can send notes to relatives, friends, or other family members, even neighbors. Writing thank you notes for gifts, to teachers for their hard work – even workers they see every day like the postal worker are all great excuses to get out a pen and paper. They can create a play or even writing out the grocery list are all great ways to practice handwriting, spelling and grammar.