The summer is almost upon us. This stirs up mixed feelings for parents. On the one hand, it will be amazing to spend time with your kids, doing exciting activities, or even just lying around the house. You want them to enjoy their time away from school and academic pressures. On the other hand, summer learning loss is a real thing, and you don’t want your children to fall victim.
Summer learning loss is a term that refers to the amount of math and reading knowledge children lose over the summer vacation. One study published in American Education Research Journal stated that 52% of students lost an average of 39% of their total education gains during the summer vacation. That’s a significant percentage of students and loss, not to mention that there may be a snowball effect over the years. Teachers can confirm that the new school year’s early days (or weeks) are spent reviewing and sometimes reteaching last year’s work.
We understand that you want your kids to have fun and enjoy their summer, but academics are also a priority for you. Fear not; you can do both. We have found some of the most fun summer learning activities around. Your kids will love participating, and you’ll love knowing that you’re reinforcing learning.
How do you keep learning in the summer?
The way to keep them learning in the summer is to find clever ways to combine learning and fun. That’s not as hard to do as you might think.
Here are a few tips for keeping your kids engaged in reading and math over the break:
- Play Smart Games Together: Incorporate puzzles and other thinking games into their days. Games that enrich math skills, reading practice, and science facts can be just as fun as any other activity.
- Let Kids Read Whatever They Want: It’s tempting to enforce a strict reading-level book list over the summer, but it’s a great time to allow your kids to read whatever interests them. This includes comics, graphic novels (for older ones), magazines, below-level books, and whatever else keeps them reading. Their reading skills can wane if they aren’t practicing them regularly.
- Let Them Use Their Imagination: Allowing them to have fun with their imagination helps expand their vocabularies and experiment with new concepts. Although it looks like little is getting accomplished while they play but loads of giggles, they are actually using many learned skills and acquiring new ones.
- Get Out of The House: While you may be able to amass a small treasure trove of ‘stay at home’ games, books, and toys, it’s still great to get the kids out of the house regularly. The novelty of visiting interesting places can stimulate their brains and create learning environments. Hands-on museums, historic sites, and zoos can make your child excited about learning new things. Trips to places inspired by stories they’ve read will be highly motivating.
What can I learn in the summer?
Here are a few fun things to learn this summer:
- Rubik’s Cube
- Cooking Classes
- Arts & Crafts
- An Entrepreneurial Project
- Mathematical Skills
- Speech & Drama
Is studying during the summer good?
Many parents feel very strongly about their children enjoying the summer months and taking a complete break from academics. But a case can be made for using the summer to consolidate academic skills instead.
Since we know that a lack of practicing their work will result in academic regression, we can reach a balance. This regression is especially true of children with learning and thinking differences.
How do I stop summer learning loss?
One great way to accomplish this is to hire a tutor. You can set aside a little time each week to work on formal learning while leaving plenty of time for fun in the pool. The tutor can not only provide plenty of practice with skills your children already have but teach them new ones and prepare them for the work they will encounter in the Fall.
Is your child struggling with reading? We can help. Our new reading tutoring approach will have your child quickly developing the skills and confidence to get to their grade level. Visit Sage Reading Tutors to learn more.
Our Top 12 Summer Learning Recommendations
Here are our top 12 summer learning activities:
1. Make a Homemade Bubble Solution
Find a good recipe for a bubble solution and experiment with bubble-making tools and techniques.
Take a deep dive into paper folding techniques.
3. Create Musical Instruments
Determine materials and the types of instruments you want to make. They can be ‘real’ instruments or ones you invent. Follow it up with a concert for the family.
4. Become Authors
You and your children can write a story (or stories) together. Use their drawing skills and staples to make your stories into books.
5. Research Cool Math
You and your children can research cool math projects – yes, math can be fun. For example, tessellations are terrific for younger and older children. Look up the works of M.C. Escher.
6. Start a Collection
Start a collection of something interesting like rocks, stamps, or sports cards. Their collection project can be accompanied by learning new things about the topic.
7. Start or Join a Book Club
A book club with the camaraderie of other young readers will be encouraging for your child, as well as motivating them to summarize their reading and share with others.
8. Fractions of Sundaes
Have fun while making yummy ice cream sundaes. Help your child make a one-half vanilla and one-half chocolate ice cream sundae, or a sundae with one-third vanilla, one-third chocolate, and one-third strawberry ice cream. And of course, don’t forget the toppings.
9. Create a Scrapbook
Document your summer adventures in a creative scrapbook. Include written passages, pictures, pressed flowers, admissions tickets from places you visit, etc.
10. Car Games
If you’re planning a road trip at any point, don’t forget fun and stimulating car games.
- The Number Game
- The License Plate Game
- Car Bingo
- The Alphabet Game
- Animals Galore
- Cow Game
- Math with License Plates
11. Create a Puppet Show
Using sock puppets (that they also make), your children can put on a show for the family. Older children can even write a script.
12. Explore Your Backyard
Using a magnifying glass, let your children explore the grass, trees, and walls of your backyard. They’ll be able to see that the world looks very different up close.
Related: Teaching Kids to Write 101
How can I improve my reading in the summer?
Reading is an essential skill your child must master. Over the summer, in addition to reading as often as possible, consider hiring a reading tutor. Regular tuition won’t have to take up the whole summer, only a fraction of each week, and yield excellent results.
Are you looking for expert reading support for your child? Our tutors are trained to help special needs online or in person. Contact Sage Reading Tutors for more information.