Prevent summer slide
There are two sides to the summer vacation coin. On the first side, there are seemingly endless days of fun activities, bonfires, trips to the park, picnics, and leisurely days not bound by a schedule. On the other side, however, there's the dreaded threat of "summer slide," that phenomenon where children seem to forget the skills and knowledge they learned throughout the school year, only to have to relearn it all again come September.
Here's the great part: There are ways to prevent the summer slide that won't leave your child feeling resentful or ripped off of all the good things about summer. In some cases, they won't even know they are learning! Sneaky? Maybe. Benefiical? Definitely.
Take field trips!
Just as your child's class probably went on field trips throughout the school year, one way to keep them engaged and learning throughout the summer is to take field trips in your community. This can be very simple such as trips to the local library or exploring some nearby green space, or more elaborate such as taking your children to a local tourist attraction such as a museum or historic site. There are learning opportunities everywhere!
Keep them reading and writing
Reading and writing are two skills that often suffer the biggest slide during the summer months, as they are things that many children don't typically do regularly during these months. I'm not suggesting you have your child write essays during the summer (who wants to do that??) but there are lots of fun, summer-related ways to keep your child's literacy skill sharp during the summer.
Get them a summer journal. One of the best kinds are the notebooks that have a blank space at the top of each page and lines underneath. Have them draw a picture of what they did that day and write a line or two (or more, for older kids) under the picture. At the end of the summer, they'll have a record of their vacation and razor-sharp literacy skills!
Teach them to write letters! The art of the pen pal seems to have fallen by the wayside in our age of electronic communication. Head to the dollar store and let your child pick out some fun paper, envelopes, pens and stickers and teach them how much fun it is to send (and receive!) snail mail!
Make reading a family priority. Set aside regular time to get outside, away from screens, and read together. If your children are too young to read independently, read aloud to them.
Join a summer reading program! Many libraries will have programs in place to keep children reading all summer long. Often, there will be prizes to won for completing certain reading tasks, activities to join, and more.
Let them explore!
One of the best ways for kids to learn is by exploring the world around them and being free to ask questions. Go on a nature walk, photo scavenger hunt, look for sea glass on the beach -- there are endless opportunities to explore and learn about the natural world.
Learn about your community!
No matter where you live, there is always something interesting to learn about your community. Explore your local museums, library, parks, historic sites, and more.
When it comes to summer learning, it's not about sitting down with worksheet after worksheet in an effort to recreate the classroom environment. It's summer vacation, after all! But there are lots of ways to keep the learning going by finding ways to inspire curiosity and to keep their sense of observation (along with skills like reading and writing) sharp while having a bit of fun along the way.
Enjoy your summer!