Summer is coming. We can’t wait for vacations and more free time! We are looking forward to long days and warm nights. Our kids yearn for the freedom of no school! However, as parents, we should be thinking about the “Summer Slide”. The “Summer Slide” (or slump) refers to the forgetting of what kids learned in school. Since summer is so full of fun, activity and leisure, Reading and Math skills take a back seat. The progress made in the previous school year begins to slide back a bit. However, there are some things we can do to help keep our kids from sliding back!
1. Keep a summer routine.
Sure, you may not need to wake up as early as you would during the school year, but routines are important. Kids thrive in a setting where they know what to expect and what is expected of them. So keep a calendar of things you will be doing, and keep a regular morning routine. This will help their minds be settled in knowing what is to come, and they can better focus on other tasks. And while summer bedtimes might be pushed later, it is also important to keep a set bedtime so that kids get enough sleep.
2. Read daily!
Reading is so important!!! Even reading aloud to your child (reader or non) can help to develop their vocabulary. So join a summer reading program through your local library. Read a story before bed every night. Give your kid a blanket or hammock that they can use to read outside. I have made a deal with my eight year old that he can stay up as late as he wants during the summer (as long as we don’t have plans the next day) as long as he is reading.
3. Write daily.
Reading and writing go hand in hand. Even though it is summer, kids should be practicing their fine motor skills as well. Maybe you buy a notebook for your child so that they can keep a little summer journal. Or for beginners, have them practice writing their names in chalk or on postcards. Have your kids write your grocery list, to-do list, or calendar. Practicing writing will allow their skills to improve rather than slide.
4. Use Math often!!
Help your child run a lemonade stand so they can use and count money. Give them a budget for shopping for souvenirs so they can add up and count their money. Have them help you cook. Measuring ingredients is a fun Math activity. And for older kids, you can ask them to help you double or half a recipe (fraction addition). With younger kids, simply counting things can help them. Count the cookies you give them for snack. Count the number of blue cars you see driving by. You can also do simple addition with toys, “You have 3 LEGOS, but how many will you have if I give you one more?” Math can easily be worked into your daily activities.
5. Keep their curiosity engaged!
Kids love to learn in a hands on way. Playing is learning, and while free play is super important, so is some structured play. Science experiments can be fun, engaging and educational! And it doesn’t have to be a big production. A volcano or rocket experiment can be done with just a plastic bottle, baking soda, and vinegar. Even a simple slime recipe can be turned into a lesson about absorption and chemical reaction! You can find every day experiments all over the internet, or you could subscribe to a science box and get a new batch of experiments sent to you every month of the summer!!
Summer should be a time for freedom and fun, but we can’t be letting our kids completely slide back on the skills they worked so hard to develop. Keep them learning and growing all summer long!!