Don’t take a learning break
They call it “the summer slide”. It’s a slight slip in your child’s learning skills caused by being away from the classroom for two months during the summer holidays. According to an article from the Toronto Star, it can take some children up to two months to get back up to speed on their reading, writing and math skills once they’ve returned to school in the fall.
Summer break is there for a reason: it’s great for kids to recharge, explore and learn in different ways by experiencing new places and activities outside the classroom. But since the practical skills they learn in school are important, there are ways to incorporate skill-based learning into the summer months that won’t feel like “school” to your vacationing kids.
- Read, read, read! Summer was made for lazy days and good books. Encourage your children to get hooked by making new books available to them. Take them to your local library or bookstore and encourage them to browse through the stacks for books on subjects that interest them. Fiction, non-fiction—even graphic novels—whatever tickles their literary fancy and keeps them pouring over the pages. If they’ve chosen it themselves, they’re more likely to want to read it. Ask them to tell you about the books once they’ve finished reading them. They likely won’t even realize they’re actually giving an oral book report! For book lists, parent tools and activities for different age groups, visit Scholastic.
- Sneak in some math. Kids are naturally curious and love a challenge, so find ways to present math problems in disguise. Ask them to help you keep track of the cost of your groceries as you’re putting items in the cart, see if they can figure out roughly how long a road trip is going to take based on the speed you’re driving and the number of miles or kilometers you’ll be traveling, or encourage them to figure out how many square feet your campsite or picnic area is by walking its perimeter. Check out Disney Family for more sneaky ways to expose your kids to math during the holidays.
- Encourage journaling. Give each child a brand new journal, a special pen and maybe even a new pack of pencil crayons and have them write about their summer experiences each day. Maybe it’s something they saw, someone they met, something new they learned, or something funny they heard. Kids learn by modeling the behavior of people they love and respect, so get a journal for yourself and make it a family activity that you all do together for 15 minutes at the end of the day. They could also illustrate things they’ve seen, like a spectacular summer sunset, or write a poem, or even draw a comic strip.
- Get creative. Arts and crafts are fun for kids, but they’re also a great way to stimulate the brain by engaging in activities that require skill and dexterity, like cutting, measuring and creative problem solving. Check out The Artful Parent for 500 fantastic arts and craft activities for kids.
- New experiences provide wonderful new learning opportunities and engage curious little minds. Try to get your kids out of their own backyards and into place like farmers’ markets, museums, parks, farms, cultural festivals, and science centers. Encourage them to ask questions and talk about the things they’re seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling.
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