If what they say is true, don’t let your kids fall victim to the “summer slide” which basically says that kids forget about half of what they learned the previous year during the summer months because of lack of “practice.” Every school year teachers begin their month of lessons just reviewing the basics from last year’s lesson plan. Review is great but you just don’t want them to fall behind. Take advantage of the extra time you have in the summer to do some easy activities that are FUN but also educational. It doesn’t have to be flash card session with an exam at the end with no ice cream if little Johnny fails but incorporating simple everyday learning tactics into things you already in-and-out of the house is enough to keep their minds sharp until the real learning begins again in the fall.
- Go for a trip to the library. Sounds easy enough and it is. Kids love discovering new places and new books. Many libraries also have summer reading programs with incentives like free tickets to local venues and small toys once the kids start charting the books they’ve read. Besides books, libraries also offer many other children’s programs like music, art and puppet shows. Be sure to add it to your summer to-do list!
- Go on an educational adventure. Maybe you have a local children’s museum, natural history museum or perhaps a science museum that you can visit. All of these places are great ways to have but also turn a field trip into a way to keep learning. No museums in the area? Try creating a scavenger hunt in your local park by finding different types of trees, flowers, bugs and planets.
- Too hot to go outside? Avoid turing on the TV and try giving them a limited amount of time at the computer to discover educational Web sites that also teach lessons like, pbs.org and starfall.com. There’s no avoiding the digital age, eventually all we’ll have is our computers.
- If your kids are really into workbooks or perhaps arts and craft activities, by all means, encourage it. A few great learning activity books are:
Kumon Learning Books (available in preschool through sixth grade), $6.95 and up, at kumonbooks.com
School Zone Staff Workbooks (available in preschool through sixth grade), $6.00 and up, at amazon.com
Brain Quest Workbooks, $7.77, at amazon.com
Do you have a favorite way to encourage summer learning?